Three recurring ideas from candidates on how to improve the Kamloops doctor shortage - InfoNews

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Three recurring ideas from candidates on how to improve the Kamloops doctor shortage

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October 14, 2018 - 6:30 PM

KAMLOOPS - Kamloops residents have been struggling for years from a family doctor shortage.

Some residents are forced to travel across the city just to wait in long lineups at walk-in clinics to get looked at by a doctor. Recently, the provincial government opened a primary urgent care facility and a family practice learning centre to help improve health care to patients without a doctor.

There are currently 2,200 Kamloops residents on a waiting list to be connected with a family doctor, according to the most recent numbers from the Health Link B.C. 811 waitlist.

We asked candidates this question: Kamloops has struggled for years with a doctor shortage. How can council improve this situation, if at all?

Below you will find excerpts from their responses but their full responses, as submitted, are at the bottom of the story.

Candidates who say the city should help new doctors with the expense of setting up their own space/clinic:

Dennis Giesbrecht
Dennis Giesbrecht
Image Credit: FACEBOOK/ Dennis Giesbrecht

Dennis Giesbrecht: I think we need to specifically target the young graduates training in our city. These new graduates can't be expected to start family practices when graduating, quite often with large debt. Perhaps ... we could set up with office/clinic space, and in-house management to support these new graduates starting in private practice.

Corally Delwo: We can offer easy approvals to doctors wanting to set up clinics and practices in hopes that they will be enticed to come here.

Jimmy Johal: Younger doctors want to open shared clinics to cut down on the workload, so we should make sure Interior Health is doing that here.

Kathy Sinclair: One of the best things we as a council can encourage is having organizations set up shared medical practices. Doctors can share overhead costs (rent, billing, reception) and work as much or as little as they wish to. We can also encourage further investment in RIH, including more sophisticated facilities and medical equipment.

 

Candidates who say the city needs more focus on arts, culture and recreational activities to entice doctors:

Alison Klie.
Alison Klie.
Image Credit: FACEBOOK/Alison Klie

Alison Klie: I believe that to attract more doctors we first have to make Kamloops more desirable to that demographic. By increasing the type of recreational facilities and events in the city and improving our school system, more families and individuals will want to move here.

Bill Sarai: It is hard to fix the doctor shortage by council alone. What we can do is to improve the quality of life, have the amenities available that will attract qualified doctors to our area, ie; skiing, fishing, concerts, arts, sports etc.

Gerald Kenyon Watson: Kamloops is constantly competing to attract physicians with specialties and other professionals. Arts, sports and culture make a city feel vibrant. We need an arts and culture initiative comparable to the Tournament Capital (facilities and support for the arts community).

Seven candidates who say council should offer incentives to new young doctors looking for work:

Sadie Hunter.
Sadie Hunter.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/ Stacey Krolow Photography

Sadie Hunter: Some communities offer incentive packages to potential doctors, and if we aren’t already doing this then I think there’s an opportunity to explore.

Jennifer D. Adams: Creating better incentives packages for  Doctors will help and opening more clinic locations helps. Working closely with the provincial government and lobbying the federal government to support rural communities more effectively will help.

Nicholas Adams: Kamloops can improve the recruitment of new doctors in our community by incentivizing them to come here. As we are short of family doctors we should encourage the creation of new practices and the expansion of existing doctors by offering competitive tax incentives.

Mike O'Reilly: One thing the City of Kamloops could be doing is providing incentives for doctors to locate here. It is being done in other cities across B.C., as small as Quesnel, and having great success.

Dale Bass: The lack of doctors is an Interior Health Authority issue but the city has a role to play in it by helping to promote the benefits of living and working in Kamloops.

William James Turnbull (for mayor): We can make Kamloops even more awesome of a place to live! Clean air is a priority. Support the New UBC Residents at RIH's new addition.

Stephen Karpuk: We need to design and develop a more attractive community to attract people, doctors and others alike.  We need to be “different” enough to stand out from all the other communities who are looking for Doctors too.

Candidates who say the city needs to continue to work with the provincial government and/or Interior Health Authority:

Caroline King.
Caroline King.
Image Credit: FACEBOOK/ Caroline King

Caroline King: The doctor shortage we have in Kamloops is no different than the shortage felt in multiple other communities across British Columbia and that shortage comes down to availability. I think having doctors train in Kamloops would go a long way in them staying here when their education is complete.

Ken Christian (for mayor): We are working with the Southern Interior Medical School and UBC and have allocated 30K to this effort. We are making progress and the situation has vastly improved in the past two years. Specialists are mainly covered and we welcomed 7 new GPs in the last few months. We are still short and are continuing to make this point with Health Minister Adrian Dix.

Arjun Singh: Council approved the building of the new Clinical Services building at Royal Inland Hospital. This building now houses a UBCO med school satellite campus and an urgent care clinic.

Denis Walsh: City Council must keep making our needs known to Interior Health, our two MLA’s, and Venture Kamloops our economic development representatives.

These candidates did not respond:

Donovan Cavers
Ray Dhaliwal
Dieter Dudy
Chris Bose
Shawn Harnett

Full responses below:

Jennifer D. Adams: Municipalities can improve medical service in communities. Creating better incentives packages for  Dr’s will help and opening more clinic locations helps. Working closely with the provincial government and lobbying the federal government to support rural communities more effectively will help.  We can be proud of our community in securing the hospital expansions and it is encouraging to see the new current government continuing the work started by previous our previous government. I believe our new nursing program expansion at TRU will also help if we can find effective ways to retain  both nurses and Dr’s in our community.

Denis Walsh: City Council must keep making our needs known to Interior Health, our two MLA’s, and Venture Kamloops our economic development representatives.

Jimmy Johal: City Council must keep making our needs known to Interior Health, our two MLA’s, and Venture Kamloops our economic development representatives.

Corally Delwo: Kamloops has struggled for years with a doctor shortage. How can council improve this situation, if at all? With healthcare sitting in the hands of the provincial government I think one of the few things that the city council should be doing is talking to our MP’s and presenting facts to the health minister of the need for more Doctors. We can offer easy approvals to Doctors wanting to set up clinics and practices in hopes that they will be enticed to come here.

Sadie Hunter: I’m honestly not sure what council can specifically can do to address this issue aside from continuing to work with Interior Health and other government agencies to find innovative solutions. Some communities offer incentive packages to potential doctors, and if we aren’t already doing this then I think there’s an opportunity to explore. In the bigger picture, it also comes down to livability. We’re off to a great start with what we can offer in terms of recreation, I’d like to see the same focus put to developing arts and culture. I believe we can also do more to promote our community and what we have to offer.

Nicholas Adams: Kamloops can improve the recruitment of new doctors in our community by incentivizing them to come here.  As we are short of family doctors we should encourage the creation of new practices and the expansion of existing doctors by offering competitive tax incentives.  When young doctors look for a community to call home we need to ensure that we have the amenities and lifestyle opportunities they seek.

Mike O'Reilly: One thing the City of Kamloops could be doing is providing incentives for doctors to locate here. It is being done in other cities accross BC, as small as Quesnel, and having great success.

Caroline King: The doctor shortage we have in Kamloops is no different than the shortage felt in multiple other communities across British Columbia and that shortage comes down to availability. I think having doctors train in Kamloops would go a long way in them staying here when their education is complete.

Dennis Giesbrecht: When it comes to doctors i think we need to specifically target the young graduates training in our city. These new graduates can't be expected to start family practices when graduating, quite often with large debt. Perhaps a center we could set up with office/clinic space, and in-house management to support these new graduates starting in private practice.

Dale Bass: The lack of doctors is an Interior Health Authority issue but the city has a role to play in it by helping to promote the benefits of living and working in Kamloops. And it must be said IHA has been recruiting to toss to Kamloops. Most tend to be specialists but we need those here to assist family physicians who might come. If a GP can't refer a patient who needs specialized care, that may not be an incentive to set up a practice here.

Gerald Kenyon Watson: Kamloops is constantly competing to attract physicians with specialities and other professionals.  Arts, sports and culture make a city feel vibrant.  We need an arts and culture initiative comparable to the Tournament Capital (facilities and support for the arts community).   There were nine competing proposals for a Performing Arts Centre going into the last referendum.  I am not an expert and will need to hear from the Performing Arts Community to have the information to balance costs and benefits as to what is best for the city.

William James Turnbull: We can make Kamloops even more awesome of a place to live! Clean air is a priority. Support the New UBC Residents at RIH's new addition.

Alison Klie: I believe that to attract more doctors we first have to make Kamloops more desirable to that demographic. By increasing the type of recreational facilities and events in the city and improving our school system more families and individuals will want to move here. Most importantly though they need a place to live and work. By focusing on streamlining the processes involved in property development we can begin building new and desirable homes and workspaces sooner."

Arjun Singh: Council approved the building of the new Clinical Services building at Royal Inland Hospital. This building now houses a UBCO med school satellite campus and an urgent care clinic. These and other community initiatives have made the doctor shortage must less acute in Kamloops.

Stephen Karpuk: We need to design and develop a more attractive community to attract people, doctors and others alike.  We need to be “different” enough to stand out from all the other communities who are looking for Doctors too.  Lastly, rethink the problem.  I think nurse practitioners, Chiropractors and other health care providers could be better integrated to reduce the pressure on the medical system.  Lots of other places do it.

Bill Sarai: It is hard to fix the Doctor shortage by Council alone.  What we can do is to improve the quality of life, have the amenities available that will attract qualified Doctors to our area,  ie; skiing, fishing, concerts, Arts, sports etc..   We also need to curb the increasing property crime, which in turn is fueled by the Opioid crisis.  We also need to give the Doctors and Specialist incentives to open up their practices here.

Kathy Sinclair: Increasing liveability, economic development, infrastructure and services will attract more medical professionals to our community. When professionals look at relocating, they generally look at everything a city has to offer. It’s not just about a job. People are seeking a full round of lifestyle factors including housing affordability, suitability for raising a family, (lack of) traffic congestion, and recreational, cultural and entertainment opportunities. In all of these areas, Kamloops has much to offer. I’m also hearing that many new doctors don’t want the expense of setting up their own practice. They don’t want the risk or responsibility of running their own business and they don’t necessarily want to work full-time. One of the best things we as a council can encourage is having organizations set up shared medical practices. Doctors can share overhead costs (rent, billing, reception) and work as much or as little as they wish to. We can also encourage further investment in RIH, including more sophisticated facilities and medical equipment. As a councillor, part of my role is to be an ambassador for Kamloops. I am happy to meet with anyone of any profession who is considering moving to town and is a pretty great tour guide.

Ken Christian: The doctor shortage is not a city issue but rather it is a provincial issue.  That said we have been working through the Thompson Regional Hospital District that I Chair to assist in the recruitment of Docs.  We are working with the Southern Interior Medical School and UBC and have allocated 30K to this effort.  We are making progress and the situation has vastly improved in the past two years.  Specialists are mainly covered and we welcomed 7 new GPs in the last few months.  We are still short and are continuing to make this point with Health Minister Adrian Dix.


To contact a reporter for this story, email Karen Edwards or call (250) 819-3723 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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