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More than half of Whistlerites don't have a family doctor: poll

More than 46 per cent of all respondents confirmed they do in fact have a family doctor within B.C.'s borders
Officials at the local, provincial and federal levels are implementing a range of measures aimed at curbing Canada's ongoing family doctor shortage.

With news that Pemberton family doctor Will Ho is leaving the Sea to Sky corridor and heading back home to Australia this month, Pique decided to publish a poll asking the question: Do you have a family doctor in B.C.?

More than half of the 287 readers who responded answered “no,” they do not.

Though Ho said his colleagues are well positioned to care for Pemberton’s growing community amid his departure, that figure is still significantly higher than the 23 per cent of British Columbians and 17 per cent of all Canadians who couldn’t find a family doctor, according to a September 2022 poll from the Angus Reid Institute. The study found one in five Canadians—representing about six million Canadian adults—do not have a family doctor.

It’s also higher than the proportion of Whistler’s community that was without a family doctor in 2021, as per Whistler’s Primary Care Task Force

Following the closure of two family practices as well as two naturopathic clinics in the years leading up, the task force estimated in October 2021 that around 40 per cent of Whistlerites did not have a regular primary care provider. At the time, the resort counted between seven and eight full-time-equivalent GPs. B.C.’s health ministry recommends one physician per 800 to 1,000 patients, an ambitious target for local health-care officials considering Whistler’s official permanent population reached 13,982 people in 2021.

Pique’s poll ran from Nov. 14 to Nov. 19, 2022. Of the 287 votes, we can determine that 39 are from within the community. The full results are as follows:

Yes 46.15 % local, 43.55 % total    
No 53.85 % local, 55.75 % total    
I have a family doctor, but they're not in B.C. 0.00 % local, 0.70 % total    
  Local   Total

Results are based on an online study of adult Pique Newsmagazine readers that are located in Whistler. The margin of error - which measures sample variability - is +/- 5.71%, 19 times out of 20.

Pique Newsmagazine uses a variety of techniques to capture data, detect and prevent fraudulent votes, detect and prevent robots, and filter out non-local and duplicate votes.

- With files from Brandon Barrett