Doctor shortage strikes Lumby

A growing lack of doctors has placed Lumby in critical condition

A growing lack of doctors has placed Lumby in critical condition.

Village council received a warning Monday from the Lumby Health Society about the pending departure of one of Lumby’s two physicians.

“It’s something council has to look at,” said Coun. Julie Pilon.

The community, which also includes the rural area and Cherryville, used to have three doctors.

“I now have to go into Vernon to see a doctor,” said Pilon, adding that proves challenging for residents without a vehicle or with mobility issues.

The health society has presented some ideas for possible recruitment.

“We need to readdress Lumby being placed on the (provincial) rural designation and to be added to the rural locum program,” said  Judy Phillips, with the society.

Another factor impacting the situation is the need to upgrade the provincially owned building the physicians use for offices.

“How you treat your patient and where is a huge issue as to whether you will come to town as a doctor,” said Mayor Kevin Acton.

The health society also wants Lumby to market itself as a place where physicians want to live.

“We offer a lot of things – our lifestyle, we’re close to an international airport and there are golf courses close at hand,” said Acton.

Pilon admits the challenge with recruitment is partially related to the changing nature of medical practises.

“They only want to work so many days a week and they want a life of their own. They want amenities and activities for their families,” she said.

The village will work with the Lumby Health Society and the Interior Health Authority on physician recruitment.

“We need to figure out how to deal with this,” said Acton.