BC's highly-paid doctors should actually be paid more

Two & Out
By James Peters
October 14, 2016 - 9:38am Updated: October 14, 2016 - 5:32pm

KAMLOOPS — If you are fine with working in the service industry, then you can work pretty much anywhere in the world.

There will always be a need for bartenders and baristas and servers, because wherever people are, they will eat and drink.

In a way, it's exactly the same for doctors.

Everywhere there are people, they will need to figure out why they hurt.

Google is good for a lot of things, but it can't, with any authority, tell you if that spot on your skin is something to worry about.

Here in BC, we have plenty of baristas, but when it comes to doctors, we get the raw end of the deal.

According to Health Match BC, this province has more than 600 physician vacancies, with about two-thirds of those openings for general practitioners.

So why, in this paradise of a province we call home, aren't doctors flocking to our doors?

The reasons are many.

They include the lack of training spaces in our post-secondary institutions, and the difficulty we have credentialing doctors trained overseas who want to practice here.

But the biggest parts of the problem are time and money.

Money, because doctors - especially specialists - can make more elsewhere, and time, because doctors know they won't have any to themselves if they come here.

The latter is a chicken and egg problem, and one that can be addressed by solving the former.

In the past few months, the provincial government has painted a rosy picture of its finances.

Things are going well, especially compared to the rest of the country.

If that's the case, some of our province's wealth should be directed to addressing the disparity in the compensation afforded to our doctors.

We need to keep up with the Joneses, and not simply believe that our pristine lakes and majestic mountains will draw doctors here.

It's not a sexy expenditure that will yield dramatic results before next spring's election, but when it comes to doctors, show them the money.