LETTER: Not all patients treated equally

Weekly letters to the editor from within the Sooke community.

Re: Doctor shortage in critical condition (News, Nov. 23)

Kevin Laird’s recent article overlooked a couple of problems that prevents people from being matched with a physician in a fair and timely manner.

The local clinic openly practices discrimination against people on its waiting list and periodically purges names from the list.

My girlfriend had our names placed on the waiting list eight years ago and we have been waiting ever since.

Twice in the past five years I found our names have been removed from the waiting list and we had to start waiting again.

According to clinic staff, our names were placed on their waiting list on Nov. 14, 2014, not November 2008. When asked about how they manage the waiting list they tell me that the clinic reserves the right to be selective.

According to a response I received on behalf of Health Minister Terry Lake “… because walk-in clinics operate as independent businesses … they have the authority to determine the policies that work best for their offices … furthermore, preventive services such as routine annual physical examinations are not an insured benefit under the MSP.”

Apparently private clinics are legally allowed to discriminate against people whom they deem are unworthy of a family doctor. Furthermore, we are unable to receive even an annual physical examination to monitor our current health status.

Here’s a quote from the Health Care Act: “… all residents must have equal access to insured health care services … without discrimination based on age, health status or financial circumstances …”

If private clinics are paid from the publicly run system shouldn’t they have an obligation to treat people equally and fairly?

The waiting list should be based on a first come, first served principle regardless of health status. We contribute to the health-care system and deserve to be treated equally and with respect.

Paul Rudge

Sooke