Enderby demanding action on physicians

Victoria is facing pressure to address Enderby’s looming doctor shortage

Victoria is facing pressure to address Enderby’s looming doctor shortage.

City council voted Monday to write the Ministry of Health and demand they increase opportunities for international medical graduates to get their certification so they can practise in B.C.

“They need to follow up on what they said they would do,” said Mayor Howie Cyr of the ministry.

The broader community of 7,200 is faced with having just one permanent physician after other doctors left for a variety of reasons.

The Interior Health Authority has stated there will be at least one new doctor this summer, but Cyr insists more needs to be done to meet the needs of residents.

“We’re going to keep pushing until we get a sufficient level of physicians,” he said.

The city will also investigate whether an internationally trained doctor can work in Enderby while pursuing their B.C. qualifications. That would require sponsorship from IHA and being monitored by another doctor.

Enderby could also possibly advertise in a publication that is directed towards foreign doctors.

In a letter to the city, the College of Physicians and Surgeons of B.C. states that it’s aware of the situation facing Enderby and other rural communities.

“Barriers to restricted licenses are many and are primarily due to lack of capacity  and resources to assess international medical graduates who lack appropriate credentials,” said Heidi Oetter, college registrar.

“Furthermore, IMGs who have incomplete training are not able to access university programs to upgrade their skills. This is, again, a capacity issue as UBC has focused its resources on expanding both the undergraduate and postgraduate medical training programs. Despite increasing the number of residency positions for IMGs who wish to be family doctors, the demand for these physicians in communities such as Enderby vastly exceeds the numbers who qualify each year.”

Cyr says he understands the limitations facing the College of Physicians and Surgeons.

“It’s out of their hands. It’s in the hands of the Ministry of Health,” he said.