Friday, March 23, 2007

Doctors in rural BC

I just heard on the CBC that Williams Lake is losing one of their doctors. As a town, Williams Lake is not that small, but they have reached a point where they are having trouble recruiting doctors. The situation in smaller towns is even more acute.

There towns serving populations of 5000 people with 2 doctors. This means that a doctor is on call every other night. It means if one of them goes on a holiday that the other has to be on call 24/7. This ratio of population to doctors is worse than most of developing world - it is worse that a lot of rural areas in Latin America.

It means that people needing regular healthcare need to move to another location.

Small towns not having the doctors means that people need to move out of town for a birth. A pregnant woman in Lytton has to move to Kamloops in her 8th month because there is no place that she can give birth locally.

The elders of the community also need to leave to the care they need.

The only bright point I have seen is in Lillooet BC. The medical clinic has been proactive in recruiting doctors and therefore has maintained a reasonable ratio of population to doctors. No on needs to be on call too often, holidays are possible, and the lifestyle is good.

The Lillooet Clinic manages to recruit younger doctors because it can sell them on the amazing outdoors and a low cost of living combined with a practice that is interesting but not overwhelming. They have done this without the help of any level of government.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm actually tinking of working in Lillooet as one of the docs. I'm 29 and have a young family. We currently live in the UK. I'd love some more insight and information on living in Lillooet and more detail on cost of living if you can help?