The future of family doctors
Dear Editor: Will you have a family doctor 10 years from now?
Family doctors are becoming a vanishing breed. They are retiring, quitting practice or considering other options. Many doctors find themselves in very difficult situations — running an office, and staff, etc., and are expected to complete a myriad of forms from various government sources. We believe this is becoming an epidemic issue.
The net result is the average doctor seeing fewer patients and acting more as a clerk, rather than a doctor.
We are concerned as a family that many primary care physicians will decide that the stress and frustrations are detrimental to their own quality of life and will suffer even more from burnout. Currently they spend much of their time filling out endless forms to satisfy government needs.
However, they should be doing their real job, utilizing their skills in treating patients. Unfortunately, there appears to be little in the way of funding to train paramedical staff who should receive sufficient training to lighten the load of administrative duties, but have sufficient medical knowledge to make some patient treatment decisions.
Currently in several other countries, the family doctor has all but disappeared in favour of the institutional method.
Are there enough young medical students to replace the retiring, re-locating doctors, for the next decade?
What can we do? Ask your family doctor what suggestions, solutions might be available. Get involved now.
Write your concerns to B.C.M.A. and the College of Physicians and Surgeons of B.C. Marie Prior r.p.c. m.p.c.p, Penticton