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Letter to the Editor: Task force seeking solutions on Whistler's healthcare gap

Family doctor - Getty Images
The Whistler Primary Care Task Force aims to help everyone who wants a family doctor in Whistler have access to one. | Getty Images

The Aug. 13 article regarding Whistler’s healthcare gap (“New mobile medical service designed to fill healthcare gap in Whistler,” Pique, Aug. 13) is correct in stating that Whistler has a shortage of family doctors. Many people do not have access to a doctor whom they can see for ongoing care or when new healthcare issues arise. The article highlighted some of the issues that make it challenging for family doctors to operate in communities like Whistler. Like most communities in B.C., the shortage of family practice doctors has become worse over time.

The Sea to Sky Divisions of Family Practice held a forum on this topic in 2019, and a Whistler Primary Care Task Force was created in response. The goal of the task force is for everyone who wants a family doctor in Whistler to have access to one.

Since its formation, the task force has identified the factors that contribute to Whistler’s shortage of family practitioners, and has reviewed a range of models implemented in other communities that face similar challenges.

The landscape for family practice has changed significantly over the last several years. Private/for-profit healthcare service delivery models are entering the healthcare space. Healthcare has become an opportune market from which corporations may find growth scenarios. Rather than creating an opportunity for corporate interests to fulfil profit mandates, a community-driven solution is much more appropriate for Whistler. Creating a made-in-Whistler model will ensure healthcare is driven by the needs of everyone in the community. The community-based healthcare delivery model noted by Dr. Rita McCracken in the Aug. 13 Pique article is particularly interesting for Whistler.

The Primary Care Task Force will be making a presentation to the Resort Municipality of Whistler’s mayor and council at the Committee of the Whole meeting on Sept. 21.

If you’re interested in understanding more about primary care in Whistler, or you’d like to learn more about what a community health centre could mean for our community, please attend the meeting.

Information regarding the Committee of the Whole meeting (open to the public) can be found at whistler.ca/council.

Carol Leacy // Chair, Whistler Primary Care Task Force

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