Two health-focussed events drew local residents.

A GP for Me: focus of forum

The lack of family physicians was discussed at forum in Sooke

Two health-focussed events took place in Sooke recently.

First was lesser-advertised Vancouver Island Health Authority (VIHA) sponsored strategic plan road show, details of which appears in last week’s Sooke News Mirror.

The second, somewhat better advertised health initiative that took place on Saturday, November 30 was an excellent reflection of precisely what Stanwick was calling for: a community-planned working session, coming from the community.

This forum, A GP for Me, allowed Sooke residents to address the relationship between patient and family physician. It’s scope included the difficulty of getting a local family doctor. About 60 people attended this event.

A presentation found on the gpscbc.ca website indicated there was a “2010 Government commitment to provide a family physician for any BC resident who wants one, by 2015.” That’s just a bit over a year away.

Data from the Canadian Community Health Survey found there are 13.8 per cent of BC residents who don’t have a regular family physician, of which almost four per cent are looking for a regular family physician but cannot find one.

Based on the attendees at the Sooke forum, there are a significant number — about half the group present — in Sooke who do not have a doctor.

“GP’s are definitely in short supply,” writes Linda Nehra, a consultant with the GP for Me program, in correspondence, “and the Universities can’t graduate them fast enough to meet the demand.  That coupled with pending and actual retirements of Family Docs are two factors that have contributed this crisis.”

A working group has been established to address some of these issues.

“The Working Group will hold its first meeting in early January (we are working on a date right now),” updates Nehra. “We have not yet confirmed membership but hope to include the District of Sooke, the Sooke Region Community Health Initiative, the West Coast Family Medical Clinic, the South Island Division of Family Practice, and Island Health.”

The findings from Saturday’s forum are currently being compiled, and the Sooke News Mirror will forward those findings as soon as that information becomes available.

Residents from the Greater Sooke area (from Port Renfrew to Beecher Bay) can add their input by dropping by at the Sooke Family Resource Society located at 2145 Townsend Road. Surveys are at the front desk.

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