In B.C., patients post classified ads to find a family doctor

Janet and Michael Mort had been without a family doctor since theirs retired in December 2021.

As Michael Mort suffers from heart and neurological problems and recently from prostate problems, his wife decided to publish an advertisement in the newspaper, so that his medical care would not be interrupted.

It was my last optionexplains Janet Mort. I said to [Michael] that if I put [une annonce] in the newspaper, all our friends and acquaintances would know [son] state. He just said to me:JanetI am in dire straits and will do whatever you think is necessary to get medical attention.”

Janet Mort says she even considered sending her husband to a private clinic in Seattle, Washington, but that would have been too expensive.

The couple are happy to have finally found a family doctor so that Michael Mort can get the physical exam he was hoping for as well as more specialized care.

The poor health system

Janet and Michael Mort aren’t the only ones to appeal to the public to find a family doctor. Their approach prompted Vancouver’s Gary Shuster to do the same in August, offering a $5,000 reward to anyone who would help him.

Margaret Fraser, a family physician and emergency physician in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, believes it is terrible of having to use this means to obtain care.

She’s not surprised, however, because she says the health care system is in the worst shape since she started working 12 years ago, especially when it comes to finding a family doctor.

Janet and Michael Mort had been without a family doctor since theirs retired in December 2021.

Photo: Provided by Janet Mort

Moreover, according to a survey by the Angus Reid Institute published this week, 17% of Canadians consulted do not have a family doctor and 33% have difficulty obtaining an appointment with the one they have.

It is also in British Columbia and Quebec (23% in both provinces) that people without a doctor are the most numerous, according to the survey data.

In an emailed statement, the British Columbia Ministry of Health says it is aware of Michael Mort’s situation. He also recognizes that many other people in the province are feeling the effects of the capacity issues.

We know that pandemic burnout is real and that many healthcare professionals, especially those in our primary care system, are not working or working less to care for themselves.says the Ministry.

The Government of British Columbia recently announced an investment of $118 million to provide short-term support to family physicians while a new compensation model is created, which is expected to be announced this fall.

To be heard

According to Dr. Fraser, there is no short-term solution to the shortage of doctors.

Fixing the healthcare system isn’t something you can do in a four-year termshe says. Medical schools need to increase enrollment and there needs to be more [possibilités] training for people coming from outside of Canada.

As for Janet Mort, she hopes her husband’s story will serve as motivation for other Canadians who do not have a family doctor.

If you have a family doctor, look in the mirror and say [que vous êtes] fortunate. […] If your doctor retires or decides to move, you will find yourself [comme nous]helpless and aloneshe said to them.

Start making yourself heardshe advises.

With information from Bob Becken and the show Cross Country Checkup

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