Re: The crisis facing family doctors

Dr Robert Shepherd of Vancouver writes that walk-in clinic visits should not be paid less than full-service family doctor visits, saying that this would discourage doctors from working in walk-in clinics on the weekends [BCMJ 2004;46(10):499-500]. That’s true. And that’s a good thing.

He attempts to make a claim that walk-in clinics alleviate ER visits, and somehow deal with shortages of staff in emergency rooms. On the contrary, they contribute to shortages of staff in both family doctors’ offices and in ERs. If the doctors weren’t working in the walk-in clinics, they would be available to work in full-service family medicine or in the ER.

It’s quite simple: if more doctors could be encouraged—monetarily—to work in full-service family practice, they would be better able, through call groups and extended office hours, to provide care to more patients during the week, in the evenings, and on weekends, thereby decreasing ER congestion and reducing the need for the episodic care delivered in walk-in clinics.

—D.R. Beegan, MD
White Rock

. Re: The crisis facing family doctors. BCMJ, Vol. 47, No. 1, January, February, 2005, Page(s) - Letters.

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