Doctors demand solution to critical shortage of dermatologists in B.C.

B.C. is facing a critical shortage of dermatologists at a time when demand for skin specialists is on the rise, according to medical authorities.

B.C. Medical Association head of dermatology Dr. Evert Tuyp said the situation is reaching crisis proportions in the Interior and northern B.C.

“We have a shortage of 25 per cent of the dermatologists we should have,” he said, adding that many cities, including Kamloops and Prince George, only have one skin doctor.

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With not enough dermatologists being trained and some leaving for higher fee structures elsewhere, the solution to the shortage is not clear.

Meanwhile, patients are faced with an average wait time of five weeks to see a dermatologist, with half waiting up to 10 weeks, according to a report from the Canadian Skin Care Alliance.

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Health minister Terry Lake said that an aging population isn’t helping the situation. While the province isn’t offering any quick fixes, they said it is a priority.

But with skin cancer rates on the rise in B.C., the BCMA is calling for immediate action.

With files from Catherine Urquhart

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