The health-care system is broken when patients’ only options are calling 811 or waiting at walk-in clinics, says letter writer. (Stock photo)

The health-care system is broken when patients’ only options are calling 811 or waiting at walk-in clinics, says letter writer. (Stock photo)

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Doctor shortage shows problems with health-care system

Nanaimo letter writer challenges politicians to wait in line at a walk-in clinic

To the editor,

Last month, I was told my family doctor had closed his office with no replacement physician.

Two weeks later, I went to the walk-in clinic to renew my prescriptions. The staff were courteous and efficient, but appeared very busy.

Since the start of last month, I have been seeking a family doctor through telephone calls and letters. The constant refrain is physicians are not accepting new patients and do not have a waiting list.

I am 76 years old, born in Canada, went to school and worked throughout my life. I am angry and dismayed by the current situation in the health-care system. What has happened to all the tax dollars I have been contributing since 1967?

Can someone please explain in simple language why we have an insufficient number of family doctors to meet the needs of the population? Or perhaps let us just deal with the needs of Nanaimo residents.

Undoubtedly the issue is complicated. Is it related to health transfers from the federal government? Are we producing the numbers of medical school graduates to keep pace with the increase in population? Are medical school grads avoiding general family practice and gaining employment in government or a specialty instead?

Why can I not have a choice and pay privately for a consultation with a medical doctor or the specialist I would like to speak with to educate myself as to my health problems?

While politicians seem to extol the public system, I challenge the premier, health minister and prime minister to stand in line and attend the walk-in clinic and make the observations I did.

The current system is appalling. What are the elites going to do to help those of us reliant on a walk-in clinic or 811 for our primary medical care?

P. Lithgow, Nanaimo

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