The Cortes Island health center in Mansons Landing.

Province-wide doctors shortage in BC reaches Cortes Island

By Greg Osoba, CKTZ News, through an LJI grant from

A shortage of family doctors in British Columbia is not only affecting cities, but has spread to rural areas. Nearly a million people are without a family doctor in the province, according to a BC Family Doctors press release April 20.

The Cortes Island Community Health Association operates a clinic—open on weekdays—providing the island’s 1,000 year round residents and visitors with primary health care. So far, there has only been one week this spring when a physician wasn’t on duty.

Association President Ed Saferik says this is due in part to the unique model the clinic operates under. It’s a collaborative practice that sees a group of doctors taking turns to staff the facility, rather than one physician being entirely responsible. They each work on Cortes Island for one to two week rotating stints.

Saferik points out that physicians themselves developed the collaborative model, which works particularly well in rural communities. He also feels that the BC College of Physicians and Surgeons is partially responsible for the province-wide doctors shortage, due to their restrictive policies around certifying foreign trained practitioners.

Top image credit: The Cortes Island health center in Mansons Landing. Image courtesy of the Cortes Island Community Health Association.