Cariboo Memorial Hospital in Williams Lake is among B.C. hospitals preparing for coronavirus patients. (Black Press files)

Retired B.C. doctors standing by to help with coronavirus response

College calls on physician retirees to activate their licences

The B.C. College of Physicians and Surgeons is getting good response from recently retired doctors, as it asks them to consider returning to work if a potential surge of COVID-19 coronavirus patients requires them.

College registrar Dr. Heidi Oetter told CFAX radio in Victoria Friday that about 100 doctors have been contacted so far, and more than 20 have indicated they would be willing to return if needed. The college is preparing to activate their licences on an emergency basis if their regional health authority indicates there is a need.

The college has never taken this step before, but decided to do it with a chronic shortage of family doctors in B.C. and pressure on walk-in clinics that have a cap on their daily visits since the coronavirus became a world-wide concern.

Oetter said the college is contacting physicians who have retired within the past two years, since it generally requires physicians to be active within three years to keep their skills current.

RELATED: U.S. declares national emergency over coronavirus

RELATED: Health ministry bans large gatherings in B.C.

Health Minister Adrian Dix said phone calls to B.C.’s 8-1-1 HealthLinkBC information line have surged to thousands a day, and additional staff are being added to handle public requests for information about coronavirus and other ailments.

Oetter said the announcement this week by the B.C. health ministry that all travellers from outside Canada should self-isolate for 14 days upon their return is another concern. Doctors are among those holidaying at this time of year in U.S., Mexico and other sun destinations, and some would have left before the warning, leaving them in quarantine.

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry recommended Thursday that all travel outside Canada be postponed as B.C. deals with a mounting number of cases. Seven additional cases were announced Thursday, bringing the B.C. total to 53, mostly in the Lower Mainland.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureCoronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Q&A: Interior Health CEO answers questions on COVID-19 response

Susan Brown, president and CEO of Interior Health, answers questions regarding COVID-19

Air Canada extends suspension of flights in and out of West Kootenay Regional Airport until April 30

It’s still unknown if flights will resume at Castlegar’s airport on May 1

6.5-magnitude earthquake in Idaho shakes the Kootenays

An earthquake was reportedly felt just before 5 p.m. throughout parts of B.C. and Alberta

Stay inside vehicles on Interior ferry crossings to prevent spread of COVID-19: B.C. government

Glade, Kootenay and Arrow Lakes some of the ferry crossings in Interior

Nakusp council members support company’s bid to build new fibre-optic line in community

Council has written a letter of support for Teraspan Networks to build line

‘We will get through this’: B.C. sees new COVID-19 death, but 57% have recovered

A total of 1,066 people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus

French language supports added online for families learning at home

Games, culture and vocabulary included in new virtual resources

‘There can be no ambiguity’: Travellers brought home to B.C. must self-isolate

Health Minister Adrian Dix had sharp words for those arriving from overseas abiding by federal law

Interior Health confirms five additional cases in Okanagan COVID-19 outbreak

The total amount of confirmed cases at Bylands Nurseries Ltd. is 19; no further cases expected

55+ BC Games cancelled amid COVID-19 concerns

Greater Victoria set to host 2021 event

ANKORS East Kootenay details concerns surrounding harm reduction amid COVID-19

Harm reduction providers are having to keep up with rapidly changing situation

BC Hydro offers three-month bill ‘holiday’ for those affected by COVID-19

Industrial customers can defer half of their power bills

Some April Fool’s Day jokes bring much-needed laughter; others tone deaf to COVID-19

Police are warning the public not to use the ongoing pandemic as a punchline

Canada’s 75% wage subsidy is coming, but not for several weeks: finance minister

Subsidy will cost Canada $71 billion, but push down cost of emergency benefit, Morneau said

Most Read