The Minister and his staff were briefed by the elected local representatives on the challenges that exist in the Oceanside area for recruiting and retaining physicians. The Oceanside area presently has about 50,000 residents with considerable growth projected for at least 15 years due to "baby boomer" retirements and economic development. Nearly 1 in 4 residents are unable to find a family physician in Oceanside region.
"We need provincial policy and regulatory support via changes to remove current obstacles to help our residents find a family physician in Oceanside," stated Parksville Mayor Lefebvre.
Locally a group of community leaders and concerned physicians have been brought together to work on this broad-based community initiative. "Many want to look at effective ways to utilize and integrate existing health care resources to find a solution now," shared Qualicum Beach Mayor Westbroek. The Qualicum Beach - Parksville Healthcare Foundation was created to develop and operate a non-profit, team-based multi-disciplinary facility that will provide an attractive environment for younger practitioners. The objective is to more effectively utilize and integrate existing community health care resources, and absorb the thousands of unattached patients of the Oceanside region.
Opportunities for future innovative partnerships were explored to provide comprehensive health care in Oceanside. Minister Dix was aware of the current challenges and indicated that future discussions will take place to work towards solutions.
Phyllis Carlyle, CAO
Regional District of Nanaimo