Hundreds turned up at the Victoria legislature Saturday over ongoing concern about access to family doctors.
“I had a family physician. He retired about 2 years ago and since then I haven’t been able to get another family physician,” said Rene, a demonstrator who would not give a last name.
“Family physicians in B.C. are on their last legs,” said Dr. Jennifer Lush, a B.C. family doctor. “They’re burnt out, struggling and many of them can’t see how they can stay in practice much longer.”
Family doctors like Jennifer Lush said the problems have been well known. They say pay is too low in comparison to other medical disciplines, they have too much paperwork and the rising costs of just running a business make it extremely difficult.
“What we’ve seen from the provincial government is disappointing,” said Lush.
The group that organized the rally, BC Health Care Matters, said the situation is costing lives, with people in many cases putting off medical care because it’s harder to organize without a doctor who knows them.
The Ministry of Health told Global News Saturday, officials get it and have a 70-point action plan to fix the problem which includes creating dozens more doctor training slots at UBC, plans for a new medical school at SFU and more pay for family doctors.
“What I want to do is go into primary care,” said Dr. Tanner Lohr, a medical student training to become a family doctor.
While it’s good news to hear a young doctor in training say that, listen to what else Tanner Lohr told Global News.
“What my student loans and my massive debt from lines of credit from doing my medical training are telling me that I can’t (become a family doctor),” said Lohr.
Lohr said in his medical class of about 30 students, only two right now intend to go into family practice.