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LETTER: Closure of COVID assessment centres places undue strain on doctors

I am a patient of Dr. Bourdon with Shoreline Medical Clinic (Brentwood Bay/Sidney). This morning on my Telehealth appointment, my doctor looked exhausted, worn out, frustrated and struggling, particularly due to a decision that the government made to close COVID assessment centres with Island Health.

If someone called the clinic with a cough or symptoms of COVID, they were told to go to the assessment centre. Now, doctors are expected to treat patients with potential COVID along with their other patients and walk-ins. She said nurses are going on stress leave, medical clinics are closing, doctors do not see how they can take this on. They and their medical staff are being verbally abused by people who call in and expect them to take care of all of their needs when the government is not providing them with assessment centres.

Besides, there is a shortage of doctors and we risk losing many more who will go on stress leave or find a new profession. We must support nurses and doctors so they can keep us healthy. They can’t do that if they are mentally and physically exhausted trying to do their best and are not supported fully.

I was a secondary teacher and I often felt in the trenches. We were the face of education in the classroom and often didn’t feel supported with what we needed to educate our children. The doctors are now also in the trenches. We cannot allow this to continue. Yes, it costs money but what is a society if it doesn’t have the means to take care of its people’s health and education?

On my initiative, I told my doctor that I would do whatever I could to get the word out and I am starting with you. The assessment centre decision to close could be stopped. I care about my doctor. She has supported me for years and now it is my turn to support her along with all of the doctors, nurses and medical staff. Please contact our government leaders to insist that they better support those who support our society.

Joanne Jenkins

Sidney