Thursday, April 24th
19345
21621

Logan Lake in pain as doctor departs

Residents of a rural British Columbia town fear the lack of a local doctor beginning next month is a prescription for trouble.

Logan Lake residents crowded into a community meeting Monday night for an update about efforts to recruit a doctor to replace the community's sole general practitioner, who is leaving at the end of this week.

One man said the Interior Health Authority has known of the impending departure for months and still nothing has happened.

"Nobody seems to know anything, I don't even know why they are here, quite honestly," Bob Bogula said.

"We don't even have an interim solution of a stream of locums, we have nothing. I'm just disappointed, period."

Robert Hillyard said he was very disappointed in the health authority and the whole system.

"When we moved up here 11 years ago we had three doctors and now down to this," Hillyard said.

The departure of the current doctor means the 2,000 residents of Logan Lake will have to drive 45-minutes to Kamloops or Merritt for medical appointments.

After five years as the town's only family physician, Dr. Uzair Sheik has said Friday will be his last day.

The local nurse practitioner will extend her hours in order to help, making her available for appointments five days a week, but as of March 1 the emergency department at the health centre will be closed.

Interior Health spokeswoman Bernadine Easson told residents at the meeting that the search for a new physician is underway.

"We're going to continue to work very hard on that until we are successful," she said.

"Everything that we are providing is the information that we know at this time and we will continue to keep the community informed."

Sheik and his family plan to return to Africa, where he will open another family practice. He has said he's sorry to leave, but noted several challenges to remaining in Logan Lake, including a large, extended family in Africa and a climate very different from his homeland.

Recruiting and retaining doctors in remote and rural areas of BC is an ongoing challenge, Health Minister Terry Lake said.

"There are challenges in some areas of the province, and there always has been in rural parts of all of Canada and, in fact, in the United States," Lake said in Victoria.

"We've seen this play out through the 90s and through the last decade, as well."

A year ago, the provincial government and the BC Medical Association announced an incentive program that offers a $100,000 bonus for doctors who commit to three years in one of 17 designated rural communities.

In its first year, the program attracted nine new doctors who will serve Terrace, Chetwynd, Bella Coola, Hazelton, Clearwater, Princeton, Nakusp and Port Hardy.

The Canadian Press

COMMENTS WELCOME

Comments on this story are pre-moderated. Before they appear, comments are reviewed by moderators to ensure they meet our submission guidelines. Keep it clean, keep it civil, keep it truthful, stay on topic and be responsible. Comments are open and welcome for three days after the story is published. We reserve the right to close comments before then. Comments that appear on the site are not the opinion of Castanet, but only of the comment writer.



Read more Kamloops articles

21720



Recent Trending



20002







20803


Castanet pays for news tips. Email us a news tip, photo, or video and your name will be in a draw for our weekly news tip prize $25. Email us [email protected]


Kamloops SPCA Featured Pet

Lil Bits * In Foster
Lil Bits * In Foster Kamloops SPCA >



18079



Kamloops Quick Links City of Kamloops
Kamloops Weather
Tourism Kamloops
Kamloops Transit
Airport Arrivals
Airport Departures
School District 73
Kamloops Classifieds
Kamloops Discussion Forum
Thompson-Nicola Regional District
Interior Health
Thompson Rivers University
Thompson Career College
Thompson-Nicola Regional Library
Kamloops Real Estate



Member of BC Press Council


21202