The fu­ture of fam­ily doc­tors

Penticton Herald - - LETTERS -

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

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