The Cariboo Chilcotin Hospital Board hopes to get some answers from Interior Health next month as to how it will address a looming doctor shortage in the South Cariboo and the lack of nurse practitioners in rural areas.
Board vice-chair Al Richmond, director for Lac La Hache - 108 Mile Ranch, said he would like to ask the health authority how it plans to recruit more doctors to the 100 Mile area, following one recent retirement and plans by two other doctors to close their practice. The hospital board hopes to have Interior Health appear as a delegation at next month’s board meeting.
“We’re having a problem in south Cariboo right now,” Richmond told the board Friday, Oct. 22. “We’re losing doctors at a great rate.”
Interior Health told the Free Press in an email that 100 Mile House is one of the communities receiving “an enhanced focus for recruitment efforts.”
“Interior Health is engaged in ongoing national and international marketing and sourcing strategies to attract and engage with potential candidates to fill existing and planned vacancies in 100 Mile House,” a spokesperson wrote in an email. “We also recently hired a new full-time nurse practitioner to support Primary Care in 100 Mile House.”
Hospital board Chair Bob Simpson noted the vaccine mandate has exacerbated the staffing shortages across the Cariboo-Chilcotin, noting Cariboo Place has lost a lot of people. The need for more healthcare workers is likely to increase, he said, as big companies like Barkerville Gold ramp up.
“We’ve got more jobs than people to fill them right now,” he said. “It is fair to ask about the human resource plan, they are tapped out.”
Meanwhile, 100 Mile District Mayor Mitch Campsall said he wants to hear from Interior Health regarding its decision to evacuate long-term care homes in 100 Mile during the wildfires ahead of any orders being issued.
“The pandemonium they caused in the community was absolutely scary,” he said.