No solution in sight for BC dermatologist shortage

By Jill Sperling / James Peters
April 11, 2016 - 9:15am

KAMLOOPS — The head of the section of dermatology for Doctors of BC is concerned that skin conditions are being left untreated due to a shortage of dermatologists. 

Dr. Evert Tuyp says there is currently one dermatologist in Kelowna and one in Kamloops.

However the Kamloops dermatologist, Dr. Richard Lewis, is de-enrolled from the public medical system, meaning patients must pay to see him. 

Tuyp says people are not likely to travel long distances to see someone about skin concerns. 

"People put things off, which is sometimes okay if it's a minor problem and it's going to solve itself in a week or so," said Tuyp. "But if it's 'I'm wondering whether this thing on my back is melanoma or not,' I don't think you want to put it off."

The waiting period to see a dermatologist is currently six months on average. 

Tuyp says one of the reasons for the shortage is the province is not training enough dermatologists. 

"Really, there's one dermatologist within the medical system beyond the city of Hope," said Tuyp. "People have said to me before geographically, the Interior is beyond Hope. It seems for access to a dermatologist, it's beyond hope also."

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