What will Langford-Juan de Fuca candidates do to alleviate the doctor shortage?

We sent MLA candidates your election questions. Here’s what we heard.

How will provincial candidates in Langford-Juan de Fuca do address the family doctor shortage on Vancouver Island? That’s a question we at The Discourse heard from you after we launched a poll asking what you think should top the B.C. election agenda. Our goal is to put you in the driver’s seat of the election conversation because we believe you should guide it, not the candidates or the parties.

Leading up to the election, we’re publishing answers to questions you sent. Today, the question is: What will you do to help alleviate the family doctor shortage on Vancouver Island?

As of Oct. 9, The Discourse received answers from all four candidates via email. I’ll be rotating the candidates’ order of responses with each story we publish. Here are their responses. I’ve copied them directly from the emails they sent.

John Horgan, BC New Democratic Party

For too long under the BC Liberals, people were often shut out of the health care they needed. The problems were everywhere – long waits, a shortage of health professionals and, worst of all, a clear move toward private clinics where the rich would be able to jump the queue while the rest of us waited longer. In three years, our government began to turn the corner – with better public health care where people are treated faster. A re-elected BC NDP government would expand on the work we started, by:

  • Delivering more urgent primary care centres (UPCCs): In addition to the 21 UPCCs opened or coming soon (four of them already on Vancouver Island), ten more are on their way to deliver better and faster care in more communities, attach people to doctors, and help take the pressure off emergency rooms.
  • More personalized care through expanded primary care networks: With many already in place, we’ll bring this vital health care network to more B.C. communities.
  • Launching B.C.’s second medical school to expand our health care workforce: This means more doctors, nurse practitioners, nurses and other health professionals trained, graduating and working right here in B.C.
  • A comprehensive health care human resources strategy including credential recognition: From doctors and nurses to long-term care aides, we will make sure B.C. is well-prepared to deal with future demand and pressures. In addition to expanding training in all fields of health care, we’ll be improving the province’s credential recognition process and licensing so that people trained in other countries can provide their skills and knowledge here in B.C.

There is still more work to do but we will continue to take action to get the doctors, nurses, and other health care professionals B.C. needs to deliver more personalized care to you.

Gord Baird, BC Green Party

An integrative approach is required. I am pushing to promote the use of family health care centres where a group of doctors, nurses and specialists serve patients. Rather than a family doctor, you have a family health team. Efficiencies come when those best suited to handle a health issue are involved early. Patients need consistency and connection and a family health team provides that. Doctors and other health care professionals benefit from a health care team, sharing the load and using the strengths of each of the professionals to support the patient.

Tyson Riel Strandlund, Communist Party of BC

If elected, I would push to restore pre-2001 tax rates on corporations and upper incomes, in addition to reallocating funds from the police and military in order to provide more funding for health care and hiring more doctors. Additionally, I would ensure the enforcement of the Canada Health Act and close private, for-profit clinics.

Kelly Darwin, BC Liberal Party

Alleviating the doctor shortage on the Island has two parts to it. We need to train more doctors, but we also need to keep doctors here once they are in practice. At the end of the day we need to sell the Island as a place where doctors want to live and set up practice. We need to make life more affordable, so people want to live in our community and the BC Liberal plan to eliminate the PST for a year and reduce it to 3% the following year will make it easier for everyone to make ends meet.

Further reading:

  • Health Care is one of the “commitments” highlighted in the BC NDP platform, which can be viewed online.
  • The section of the BC Liberal website pointing out different issues the party pledges to tackle does not specifically mention health care but addresses supports to help people dealing with mental health and addictions challenges.
  • The BC Green Party does not yet have a platform available on its website, however voters can view platform announcements online. A recent announcement includes integrating mental health care into the public health care system. 
  • Shortly after calling the election, the topic of health care was discussed in the North Vancouver-Lonsdale riding, as reported by the Vancouver Sun. [end]

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