Desperate for a family doctor, a Central Saanich senior buys newspaper ad

Desperate for a family doctor, a Central Saanich senior buys newspaper ad
Janet Mort (left) placed an ad for help renewing her husband, Michael's (right) prescriptions after their family doctor retired.

Married for 51 years, the Morts rely on each other for everything, especially now as it’s been a struggle to replace their family doctor who retired at Christmas.

These days, because of Michael’s complex health issues, Janet ensures his nine prescriptions for life-saving medications are filled.

“I’m Michael’s caregiver,” Janet said. “And I have been since the brain surgery since it was 12 years ago.”

They needed to get Michael’s prescriptions filled, but Janet couldn’t get an appointment at any walk-in clinic, and the earliest appointment with Telus Health MyCare couldn’t be scheduled until the end of October.

Their situation reached a crisis point last week.

“I went to bed that night in tears, feeling helpless, and feeling responsible,” Janet said. “If I can’t find help for him, then what help is there? So I woke in the morning, and it seemed really clear that I had to go public.”

So Janet placed an ad on A2 of the Saturday Times Colonist newspaper with her desperate plea for a doctor renew Michael’s prescriptions, and she said the response to the ad so far is overwhelming.

“It’s pinging all day, my computer,” she said.

Island Health and the Ministry of Health are now aware of the Morts’ situation.

CHEK News asked for an interview with Island Health and the Ministry of Health, but was sent a statement instead.

In a statement, the Ministry of Health said, “Island Health has reached out to this family to assist with refilling their prescription and, if need be, book an appointment with a doctor, nurse practitioner or pharmacist.”

In situations like the Mort’s, the ministry says, people can reach out to 811 for health advice, access the five Urgent and Primary Care Centres in Greater Victoria, or access walk-in clinics or virtual healthcare options.

And B.C.’s Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, said she’s aware of the shortage of family doctors, and the impact on families.

“We know that there’s been a shortage, and we’ve had a stretched health care system, even before this pandemic,” Henry said. “But it’s been made worse, since. So, I know that is something the ministry is working on.”

The good news is that Janet thinks they’ve found a doctor who can take them on.

“I have my fingers crossed. I have one family doctor here in Victoria who has indicated that she will take him.”

With nearly one million British Columbians without a family doctor, according to the Doctors of BC, the Morts are a lucky couple who may have found one.

WATCH: Physicians say B.C.’s offer to new doctors won’t help crisis

Mary GriffinMary Griffin

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