EDITORIAL: Enderby crisis requires action

There’s no surprise that a lack of physicians is topping the priority list for Enderby officials and residents in the new year.

Without sufficient access to health care, it may become difficult to lure new residents and businesses to the community and some people — particularly seniors — may pack their bags. A lot of time is being spent on revitalizing the community’s image and economy, but the doctor shortage could ultimately undermine all of those activities.

But with the exception of some recruiting by the Interior Health Authority, Enderby and the rural area are left confronting the matter on their own.

Why isn’t the College of B.C. Physicians and Surgeons reviewing its licensing requirements for foreign-trained doctors? At this point, it is extremely difficult for internationally educated physicians, including those originally from Canada, to be recognized and get work in this province. In one case, Enderby has been contacted by a physician willing to come to the community.

The Ministry of Health also needs to revisit the funding model for physicians. In some communities, doctors get paid more than they do in Enderby or elsewhere in the Okanagan so there’s little incentive to come here.

MLA George Abbott has been fairly silent on the doctor shortage, but while he is retiring, he is still being paid to represent his constituents. It is time for Abbott to make some noise in Victoria and to invite Health Minister Margaret MacDiarmid to meet with Enderby residents directly.

What’s happening in Enderby is indicative of a crisis across the province and it’s time action was taken.

The Morning Star

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