Locals need to give MDs more work

Dear Editor

Re: Doctor Recruitment updateI am pleased to provide the community with an update on the Doctor Recruitment program and here is some information to consider.Firstly, the two full time physicians that we have advise us that they are very happy with our community and are looking to stay here. We have been approached by a third physician who has expressed a sincere interest in establishing his practice here within the next few months, and there is a fourth doctor who has indicated he would relocate here in 2012. By having a third doctor – and ultimately four on site – our ER coverage could be reinstated to 24/7!I bet you are all saying to yourselves “Hooray! Interior Health has listened to us and our hospital and related services are looking more secure!”    Unfortunately, there is a down side to this scenario and it has nothing to do with Interior Health. Our communities are not supporting our local doctors as well as we should be. One doctor has a full case load however the second doctor is only at about 60 per cent full. Doctors are independent businesses and for them to establish a practice here it has to be economically viable. We all understand the stress and angst that was caused a few years ago when all of our doctors left the community and we were being serviced by locums.  It is impossible to form a relationship with someone who is here temporarily so many of us found doctors elsewhere – Lillooet, Logan Lake and Kamloops.  Now, the tables have turned and we have doctors who are willing to stay here but not enough patients. We would ask that you all reconsider who your health care provider is and consider giving Dr. Khan and Dr. Kitshoff an opportunity to meet your medical needs.If we are able to attract more doctors, there are a number of additional programs that could be considered. The Village of Lytton has struggled recently with a shortage of Doctors and we could be in a position to offer some relief to them when necessary. The Ashcroft Indian Band and Bonaparte Indian Band have both established medical clinics on their lands, and with enough physicians it may be possible to have one day per week medical coverage on the reserves. This would serve the residents of these communities and ensure the doctors are kept busy. And lastly if the physicians are not fully utilized it is foolish to believe that the other aspects of the hospital will be maintained. When Interior Health is recruiting for lab technicians or physiotherapists, those professionals look at the case loads of the clinics. If the numbers aren’t at full capacity it casts a shadow as to the sustainability of the facility and many health care professionals will choose to relocate to a more secure site. Recruiting more doctors to our community is a cause that we were all united in and it appears to have worked. Now it is up to us – the citizens – to ensure that the doctors are kept busy and engaged, that their case loads continue to increase and we can show these potential doctors that we are sincere when we say we need you. Let us all work together to ensure that “Wellness Awaits You” in Ashcroft.

Andy Anderson

Doctor Recruitment Program