A crisis in health care has been looming in Enderby for months, and now the situation has escalated.
With three doctors already gone in the past nine months and another departing in January, there is the prospect of only one physician serving more than 7,000 residents. For some people, that will mean travelling to Vernon or Salmon Arm for appointments and that will be extremely difficult for those who don’t have vehicles or live in more rural settings.
Additional pressure could also be placed on already overcrowded hospitals.
Recruitment may pay off with at least one new doctor by August. But summer is a long ways off.
The Interior Health Authority and the Ministry of Health must immediately establish a concrete plan to address the expected gap in service. The plan will involve interim doctors, but there must be a guarantee that they will be there consistently. MLA George Abbott, a former health minister, must also get directly involved in the process to ensure his constituents’ needs are addressed.
For the long-term, aggressive recruitment is required to ensure that such a serious situation doesn’t arise again.
Not only does that mean promoting Enderby as a great place to live, there have to be financial incentives. Specifically, the City of Enderby has asked the Ministry of Health to revisit how doctors are paid because there appears to be a discrepancy between Enderby and other communities in B.C. When someone is considering on where to move, money talks.
Of course, Enderby isn’t the only community facing a shortage. Across B.C., there are towns without sufficient medical care.
There are no easy solutions but as conditions in Enderby demonstrate, the time for leadership is now.
The Morning Star