Folks who gathered at the A GP for Me community engagement session in 100 Mile House on Sept. 25, told organizers about their concerns regarding access to a family doctor – some of the comments were personal, while others were made on behalf of people they cared for.
Folks who had family doctors said they were becoming busier and had to make appointments up to a week or more in advance.
Some added they go to walk-in clinics unless they are “really sick” and then they go to their family doctors.
100 Mile House physician, Dr. Bruce Nicolson, noted it is important people don’t rely on walk-in clinics for all medical help because family doctors have the full medical history of their patients. If they have a serious ailment or need a procedure, he added they will have to go to their general practitioners because walk-in clinics are not equipped to do follow-up sessions.
One woman said she hasn’t been able to get family doctors for the challenged adults she works with, and they are forced to go to either the walk-in clinics or the hospital for their medical needs.
It was also noted a lot of expectant women were going to Williams Lake for perinatal care.
Everyone agreed that lack of transportation is the biggest hurdle for people getting to their family doctors.
This is even more difficult for the folks living out in the surrounding communities because it is more time consuming for family and friends to bring people into 100 Mile House doctor appointments, testing and treatment.
One participant offered a possible solution.
Konrad Schmid-Meil suggested renting out office space in 100 Mile House and hosting doctors, nurses and specialists would solve the problem of people having to travel to Kamloops for consultations and procedures.
One of the organizers said this was exactly what the group need to be looking at.