Lumby looking overseas to find doctors

Doctor shortages felt countrywide, but rural areas hardest hit

Only one full-time family doctor is currently serving more than 6,000 people relying on the health-care facility in Lumby, but this isn’t an uncommon phenomenon in rural areas said Ev Reade, chairperson of Lumby and District Health Services Society (LDHSS). However, she said finding more doctors is a challenge.

Reade said the LDHSS advertised across Canada and didn’t receive a single application, but she said she is feeling “hopeful” that new doctors can be found internationally.

Five international medical graduates have applied to work in Lumby, but the final decision does not rest with the applicant or the Health Society. Rather, the international graduate program coordinators will have final say based on needs of the communities that applied and the graduates’ skill sets, Reade explained.

“Hopefully we get one of these international graduates,” she said. “If we do get one, they would start in the summer of 2020.”

Reade said the non-profit organization she represents offers the international graduates tours of the Health Centre and the community to show them the rural life.

“The stated comments have been they like the area,” she said. “They’re happy with the clinic, happy with the support. Our last applicant we had — so far, Lumby is his first choice, but he had other (communities) he had to go to.”

“Lumby is such a beautiful area if you’re an outdoor enthusiast at all,” Reade said. “There’s lakes, hiking, horseback riding, hang gliding and we’re so close to SilverStar and Big White and four-to-five hours from Vancouver.

“We have a little more to offer than some other rural areas with our close proximity to larger centres,” she said.

Patients feel the short(age) end of the stick

The doctor shortage is being felt in communities across Canada, Reade said, but there is great incentive to work in British Columbia’s rural areas.

“The B.C. government and Doctors of BC offer a one-time payment of $9,000 if you come and set up in a rural community,” she said, noting doctors also receive a reimbursement of three per cent of MSP billings.

But ultimately, doctors choose where they want to live and work and its the patients in rural communities that suffer.

“They’re frustrated because it’s difficult for many to have access,” Reade said.

The doctor shortage affects the continuity of care, Reade said.

“A lot of people don’t bother and of course, that compounds their medical issues if it’s left too late.”

Transportation presents a major barrier that is underscored by the shortage of health-care providers in rural areas.

Bus service in Lumby is not adequate for patients, especially those with mobility issues, to utilize for health-care purposes and taxi services, Reade said, are a costly option that challenges those living on a limited income.

A part-time physician is serving the community to help fill the gap, Reade said. And Lumby has been green-lighted to hire a nurse practitioner by Interior Health although a start date has yet to be determined.

In a perfect world…

Reade said “hypothetically” allowing medical professionals to complete some of their practicum serving small communities could be helpful.

“They deal with the same issues in the big city or a small town,” Reade said.

“Illness is illness.”


@caitleerach
Caitlin.clow@vernonmorningstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Haunted happenings revealed with Vernon ghost tours

Two unique versions of ghost tours offered

Dress your best for string octet’s Vernon performance

NOCCA opens season with gala evening

Famous Forgeries featured in Vernon art show

Okanagan Artists of Canada prepare for 75th anniversary with 75-year-old art

Website names SilverStar No. 4 most affordable ski hill

HomeToGo looks at rentals, lift passes, accommodations and food to compile list of Top 50

Vernon loves their butter chicken: SkipTheDishes

Delivery app releases 2019 stats for most popular Vernon food orders

VIDEO: #MeToo leader launches new hashtag to mobilize U.S. voters

Tarana Burke hopes to prompt moderators to ask about sexual violence at next debate

UPDATE: British couple vacationing in Vancouver detained in U.S. after crossing border

CBP claims individuals were denied travel authorization, crossing was deliberate

After losing two baby boys, B.C. parents hope to cut through the taboo of infant death

Oct. 15 is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day in B.C.

Cheating husband sues mistress for gifted ring after wife learns about affair

The husband gave his mistress $1,000 to buy herself a ring in December 2017

B.C. boosts legal aid funding in new payment contract

‘Duty counsel’ service restored in some communities, David Eby says

Okanagan man killed in head-on collision on Highway 1 near Salmon Arm

Police say 21-year-old died at scene after pickup truck collided with transport trailer

Rugby Canada helps recovery efforts in Japan after typhoon cancels final match

Canadian players wanted to “give back in whatever small way they could”

Alberta to join B.C.’s class-action lawsuit against opioid manufacturers, distributors

B.C. government claims opioids were falsely marketed as less addictive than other pain meds

Okanagan restaurant adds Canadian top 50 accolade to their menu

Old Vines Restaurant in West Kelowna was named a top restaurant for a date in 2019

Most Read