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Letter: Every B.C. resident deserves a family doctor

Almost 900,00 British Columbians do not have a family doctor and that number is growing every day. It's time to speak out
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Editor:

I am a family doctor and have been fortunate enough to practise in Kamloops for nearly 30 years.

I am worried about the patients in our community because myself and other family physicians in my cohort are nearing retirement. Many, in fact, have already retired and have not been able to find a replacement.

Our office gets many ‘Can you be our doctor’ requests every week, requests that we unfortunately cannot accommodate. While I have thoroughly enjoyed family medicine as a career, the truth is it's very challenging and underfunded. Something needs to change.

Family doctors are more than just health-care providers. We are small business owners who run our clinics. And our clinics need more support to be able to continue providing care, including appropriate funding for staff salaries, lease costs and supplies. We also need to modernize how we fund and operate clinics so family doctors can spend more time with patients.

The growing amount of paperwork for family doctors is taking us away from providing patient care. We need to create healthy working conditions for family doctors, including reducing administrative burdens and providing substitute/locum physicians for when we are away.

There is clear evidence that individuals who have a family physician are healthier and hospitalized less often. Supporting family doctors will result in healthier patients and communities.

Almost 900,00 British Columbians do not have a family doctor and that number is growing every day. It's time to speak out. We need action to ensure that British Columbians can receive the care that they need and deserve. Everyone deserves a family doctor.

Dr. Grant Del Begio

Kamloops