While folks waiting in the lobby of the Prince Rupert Regional Hospital may find it hard to believe, the province is of the opinion that they are turning a corner in the ongoing doctor's shortage across the province.
The BC Health Ministry home page is trumpeting the success of it's Doctors for BC program, with 72 family physicians having been hired to work in communities identified as being in need of their services, a success rate that the province says puts it past the 75 per cent completion rate of their initiative. When the program reaches it's goal of 100 percent, some 114,000 British Columbians will once again have the services of a family doctor.
While that's certainly good news for those communities that have been suffering from the shortages of a family doctor, the situation in Prince Rupert doesn't seem to have been alleviated to any great degree.
Should you pop into the hospital at any time during regular hours of 9-5 you will still find a large number of Rupertities sitting in the waiting area, hoping that they can quickly find access to an emergency room doctor, having no recourse but to use emergency as their family clinic due to the much documented departures and shortages currently in the city.
It certainly isn't a perfect situation and it hopefully will be one of the key items for debate in the upcoming provincial election campaign, if the Liberals in particular and politicians in general are lucky, that remaining 25 percent to come from the physicians for BC program will feature one or two who will be choosing Rupert as their destination.
If not, those quotes of success while true for other locations in the province, may ring just a little hollow on the North coast