Doctors' survey alarming

Kamloops Daily News
November 22, 2012 01:00 AM

Regarding the recent Nov. 20 story, "Could mine mean fewer doctors?" . . . the news from that article was certainly disheartening to say the least.

The results of the doctor survey should hopefully be a wake-up to City councillors, MLAs (most importantly Environment Minister and Kamloops North-Thompson MLA Terry Lake) as well as Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo MP Cathy McLeod. In a time when health care is a priority subject to many levels of government, having doctors leave or not even consider coming to Kamloops would definitely be a devastating blow to the city I call home.

I heard there were 28,000 people without a family physician in Kamloops, though a doctor in the story said it was an estimated 15,000. That's a lot of people who have no access to health care or need to wait in the hours long line-ups in hopes of getting into a walk-in.

Or else they go to the emergency room and wait for hours there, subsequently causing a backlog of emergency patients at RIH.

Now, imagine the effects if the 105 doctors who would "definitely or probably not consider Kamloops" left, whether they were GPs, emergency doctors or specialized surgeons. Imagine the increase in wait times at RIH; people will now have to leave the city to get medical care in Vancouver or Kelowna that once was available here.

Kamloops, like many other cities is competing to recruit any doctors it can and there is no doubt that if they leave because of Ajax, we will have much more difficulty attracting new physicians.

Many people from surrounding areas such as Merritt, Lillooet, Cache Creek and Ashcroft also have GPs in Kamloops. So it not only harms our citizens, but it will leave an effect on the whole Thompson-Nicola Regional District.

These past two months we have already lost two more GPs - one to Calgary, and one to Vancouver. That's thousands more Kamloopsians without a GP who will have to rely on overburdened walk-in clinics or the emergency room.

I haven't seen any new doctors recently come to town over the prospect of a mine. Since when was a few million more tax dollars worth the cost of your health and mine? The fact that many doctors are willing to leave should make it enough for our environment minister to see the negative effects this mine will have on our city.
After all, what's the point of having an Ajax job if you can't find a doctor to see you if you become injured.



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