Debra Whitman and her husband recently joined the long list of people in Greater Victoria now searching for a new family doctor.
“We received a letter saying our doctor was leaving for personal reasons,” said Whitman, who received the letter on Dec. 31. The news means Debra, her family and around 1,500 other orphaned patients from Burnside Medical Clinic are now entering a wave of uncertainty.
“The urgent care clinics are at full capacity and none of the walk-in clinics are answering their phones,” said Whitman, a senior with health issues. “Feels like a medical meltdown.”
After CHEK News aired a story Monday about husband and wife duo Dr. George Zabakolas and Dr. Chelsie Velikovsky shutting down their family practice, many people across Vancouver Island sent messages and shared stories of their own doctors recently closing up shop.
Dr. Zabakolas told CHEK News that his experience with the current pay-for-service model was unsustainable. He said, on average, he’s paid just over $30 per patient visit. However, that’s before factoring in overhead costs such as staffing and rent. So, he says, many doctors end up taking on a high volume of patients in order to run a profitable clinic. The formula, Zabakolas says, can result in an ethical dilemma as too many patients could compromise the quality of care given by an overworked physician.
Written by Kevin Charach for CHEK
News articles do not necessarily represent the views of BC Family Doctors. We share news written by or about family physicians to keep our members up to date on topics impacting our professional lives.