'Edge of a crisis'

The province is teetering on the edge of a crisis as the ongoing physician shortage worsens.

B.C. doctors are sounding the alarm, saying walk-in clinics are closing because of it.

The Walk-In Clinics of BC Association is launching a petition on Friday to ask the province to train, recruit and fairly compensate more family doctors.

It’s also calling on the government to eliminate red tape that prevents GP’s from seeing patients in a timely fashion.

“I think we’re just teetering on the edge of crisis. Right now, we’re just holding on by the skin of our teeth,” said Dr. Ian Bridger, who runs four walk-in clinics in Victoria.

Bridger said doctors are burning out because of the workload which is shutting down walk ins.

Last week, Vernon's original walk in clinic, which had been operating for 25 years, permanently closed its doors.

Only one doctor was left at the Gartree Walk In, so the decision was made to close the doors.

Association spokesman Mike McLoughlin of Kelowna says 45 clinics have either shut their doors or stopped offering walk-in service in the last five years.

Part of the problem is becoming a GP just isn’t as attractive to young doctors as specializing in a field, he says.

The province says there are currently more doctors working in the province than ever.

Data from the B.C. College of Physicians and Surgeons shows there were 6,042 general practitioners in the province as of Feb. 2016, up from 5,875 in 2014.

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