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

COVID-19 brings burning ban to Clearwater and area

The reason for the ban is to help reduce excess air pollution in populated air-sheds

B.C. COVID-19 contact restrictions working, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

’Not out of the woods yet’ as next two weeks are critical

Kamloops-Thompson teachers to connect with parents to reveal plans for remote teaching

School district also asking parents to ensure children are practicing social distancing

Interior Health issues alert following confirmed COVID-19 case on WestJet flight

The public exposure alert comes following the March 21 WestJet flight from Calgary to Kamloops

Clearwater COVID-19 precautions update

Local groups and facilities taking measures to keep the public safe

B.C. is seeing the highest rate of COVID-19 recovery in Canada, and there’s a few reasons why

British Columbia was one of the first to see rise in COVID-19 cases, and has also switched up testing

Sewers stitch masks to free up supplies for front-line health-care workers

“We have little old ladies sewing up a storm,” said Joan Davis

Experts weigh in on best handling of groceries during COVID-19 pandemic

Study suggests the virus can live for up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to three days on plastic

COVID-19 world update: Enforceable quarantine in NYC?; France orders 1 billion masks

Spain warns EU’s future at stake; New York governor calls Trump’s idea ‘federal declaration of war

‘Community is amazing’: Williams Lake woman organizes drive-by birthdays

With self-isolation the norm due to COVID-19 children are missing out

Earth Hour 2020 kicks off online Saturday night

Action moves online due to COVID-19

B.C. COVID-19 cases rise 92 to 884, one more death, 81 in care

Outbreak action underway in 12 long-term care homes

B.C. veterinarians want to smooth the fur of COVID-19-worried pet owners

Vets expect to continue giving your fur buddies the help they need while social distancing

B.C. VIEWS: Small businesses need our help

Just as integral in neighbourhoods in Vancouver and Surrey as they are in Prince George or Kelowna

Most Read