April 24, 2018 8:03 pm
Updated: April 25, 2018 7:26 am

Victoria woman ‘dumped’ by family doctor for visiting walk-in clinic

A Vancouver Island woman says her doctor dropped her as a patient after she visited a walk-in clinic because she couldn't wait. Richard Zussman reports.

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It’s a break-up Rachel Wilson wasn’t expecting. The Victoria woman says she was told by her family doctor last week that she was no longer a patient because she had visited a walk-in clinic.

“My mom was saying, ‘That’s hilarious, you got dumped by your doctor,'”  Wilson said. “Dating is hard enough, right?”

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“I’ve been his patient for five years, I don’t know why all of a sudden we wouldn’t be getting along. I haven’t seen him in ages because I can’t get in for an appointment.”

READ MORE: Doctor shortage puts pressure on Okanagan walk-in clinics

Wilson is in the midst of preparing an official complaint to the College of Physician and Surgeons of British Columbia against Dr. Kevin Wylie.

Wylie’s office turned down multiple requests for an interview.

Wilson said the issue started after she returned from a trip to New Zealand. She tried to book an appointment with Wylie and was told there would be a lengthy wait. She then went to a walk-in clinic.

WATCH: Pressure growing on walk-in clinics amid growing doctor shortage

After that visit, Wilson called Wylie’s office again to make an appointment and was told by the receptionist over the phone that her chart had been deactivated.

“She said, ‘Oh, it looks like you’ve been going to walk-in clinics,’ and I said, ‘Yeah, when there’s a month-long waiting list, of course I have to go to a walk-in clinic. Is that not allowed?'”

The College of Physician and Surgeons of British Columbia declined multiple requests for an interview about the case, saying “without knowing all of the details of the incident, and absent due process, it would not be appropriate for the college to comment.”

In an email, the college detailed multiple possible reasons for why a doctor could dump a patient.

READ MORE: B.C. doctor shortage about to get worse as more physicians reach retirement age

Those reasons include a patient exhibiting threatening or abusive behaviour towards the physician or his/her medical office assistants; a patient poses a risk of harm to the physician or his/her medical office assistants or a physician chooses to reduce the number of patients in his/her practice due to personal health or similar reasons.

None of those reasons seem to be the case in this situation.

“Appropriately, I think in this case, the person has gone to the College of Physicians and Surgeons,” Health Minister Adrian Dix said. “They’ll look at the details of the case and review both sides, because there always are two sides.”

READ MORE: No end in sight to B.C.’s doctor shortage as major online resource disappears

The college’s policy also requires that a doctor notify a patient, preferably in person, that they will no longer serve as their physician. The doctor is also required to send a letter to be documented on the patient’s medical record and help the patient for a month to find another doctor.

Wilson said none of those things happened.

WATCH: B.C. walk-in clinics calling for more doctors

“It’s very frustrating. It’s now a six-year waiting list for a doctor in Victoria,” Wilson said.

“What do I do now, continue to go to walk-in clinics and not have someone help me with anything? It’s really frustrating.”

The B.C. government is currently working to address the shortage of family doctors in the province.

Dix said 15 per cent of people in the Victoria area do not have a family doctor. The province is working to reduce that wait and provide more primary care options for people.

“We will have doctors be more supported in the communities, family doctors to work more closely with nurses and nurse practitioners and other health practitioners to provide team-based care in parts of the province and you will see that response to deal with what we inherited,” Dix said.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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