I am writing in response to Tim Francis’s concern about the future of family practice (The Daily News, Oct. 3). I have a more optimistic view about the future of family doctors in Kamloops.
Our current lack of family physicians is unacceptable. It has resulted from a number of factors including planning in the 1990s that thought that there were too many physicians in Canada.
Some medical schools decreased enrollment and we trained fewer doctors. Working hours were also unsafe.
When I finished my training in the mid-90s, the average family physician worked 70-80 hours a week. This was and is not sustainable.
We actually needed to train more doctors! The complexity of medicine has changed as well, with an increasing number of people with multiple chronic diseases. This simply takes more time. There are more diagnostic options, evidence of best treatment to read and advise our patient about, and a more informed population that rightly asks us more questions.
In addition, our aging demographic population deserves more of our time and resources.
The great news is that these factors were recognized about a decade ago and medical schools significantly increased in size. These new medical doctors are now graduating and training in their specialty fields.
In fact, Kamloops will welcome it’s first family practice residents in July 2014. Training in family practice is robust, including the needed skills to practice competently in the office, hospital and residential settings. Professionalism and our responsibilities to our patients and communities are core to our fundamental values as family doctors.
The residency program is only one factor that may help with family doctor resources for Kamloops. Multiple organizations within our city have been building attractive recruitment tools and resources so that family physicians from across Canada and abroad are aware of Kamloops as a fantastic place to live and work.
It is well documented that people with an ongoing relationships with a family physicians have better health outcomes and fewer hospitalizations. Many of us have a vision of a community with enough family physicians to do more than provide average care — rather, we see a future for excellence in academic and clinical family practice. This means better care for us all!
DR. SELENA LAWRIE