Feeling like a healthcare football these days

Armchair Mayor
By Mel Rothenburger
March 8, 2017 - 8:00am Updated: March 8, 2017 - 3:44pm

KAMLOOPS —You’ll have to excuse me if I’m feeling like the proverbial football these days when it comes to my health care, and I’m willing to bet a lot of others are feeling the same way.

A couple of years ago, our family doctor had to shut down his practice, and I’ve been availing myself of take-a-number medical care ever since.

You know, that’s the one where you line up at the front door of a walk-in clinic bright and early, wait for it to open, then take a number and sit down with a whole bunch of sick people there for roughly the same reasons you are.

Eventually, you’re called to the front counter and are assigned a time to come back and see a doctor. Many others aren’t so lucky — they got there too late.

Nevertheless, it’s better than no health care at all. I’ve been frequenting the NorKam Healthcare Centre walk-in for various aches and pains etc. and the doctor du jour has been able to take care of my basic healthcare needs.

But now, that centre has announced it’s phasing out its walk-in practice because it’s too busy. I don’t quite get a business model that shuts down a service because it’s too successful, but I guess health care is different.

Anyway, I called the 8-1-1 HealthLink line yesterday to seek advice. They didn’t know anything about the situation, or even what the NorKam Healthcare Centre is, nor did they know anything about the new provincially operated North Shore Health Science Centre that recently opened up next door.

So, I found a number for the health science centre and phoned them directly, wherein I learned it doesn’t accept walk-ins and I would have to phone 8-1-1 and get on their wait list for a family doctor, and would be referred back to the health science centre for an interview if an opening came up for a nurse practitioner.

Already having been on that 8-1-1 wait list for quite some time, I asked what I should do in the meantime?

The answer was, find another walk-in clinic.

Which is why I’m feeling like a football, or maybe a tennis ball or some other kind of ball that’s being tossed or batted around this healthcare system of ours.