To the citizens of Kootenay Boundary,
Everyone in our region has been stressed by the COVID-19 pandemic over the last two years. We have all been subjected to a barrage of information, advice, and instructions; always evolving and sometimes conflicting. We write to explain our perspectives as family practitioners (Family Physicians and Nurse Practitioners), in the hope of building greater trust, respect, and confidence in one another.
As healthcare providers we see a number of very worrisome and ongoing pandemic-related concerns. There is tremendous strain on our healthcare system. This strain is generated by staff shortages, delays to diagnostic and treatment procedures and cancellations to important surgeries. It has resulted in widespread burnout for healthcare workers, especially those doing heroic work in long term care, emergency rooms, intensive care units, and hospital in-patient wards. In some cases, these exhausted healthcare workers have also endured abusive and threatening behaviour from members of the public.
Many people in our communities are still becoming seriously ill with COVID, and lives continue to be lost. Many others continue to suffer from the chronic effects of long COVID.
We perceive a growing mistrust of scientific evidence provided by medical experts, including infectious diseases specialists, epidemiologists, public health specialists, intensive care specialists, and medical scientists.
Some people are choosing to oppose public health measures, and there is ongoing and growing division within our communities. Through all this there have been enormous impacts to our society, including social, economic, employment and education costs.
One underlying cause of these challenges is a breakdown of trust and relationships.
Our healthcare system fails us on occasion; it is not perfect. However, it is among the very best in the world. As family physicians and nurse practitioners we encourage you to follow public health guidelines, and carefully consider whether the source of the information you read or hear is valid and trustworthy.
Our hope as is to, in collaboration with you as citizens, work towards repairing damaged trust and relationships. Our mission is always to care for our patients and for our community. We are ready to talk, advise, inform, help, explain, manage, support, and comfort; that is our job. If you have any questions, call us.
We also ask you to take care of yourselves, and each other.
Dr. Wendy Ackermann, Nelson; Dr. Trevor Aiken, Trail: Dr. Rainer Ankenbauer, Castlegar; Marissa Balahura, NP, Trail; Dr. Nicoleta Bobocea, Nelson; Dr. Jeanette Boyd, Nelson; Dr. Charles Burkholder, New Denver; Dr. Kristen Edge, Fruitvale; Dr. Katie Forman, Trail; Dr. Kelsey Furk, Rossland; Dr. Trisha Goodman, Nelson; Dr. Melissa Herr, Trail; Dr. Andre Kirsten, Nelson; James Kitch, NP, Trail; Dr. Philip Kubara, Nelson; Dr. Margot Link, Nelson; Dr. Derek Lum, Trail; Dr. Margaret MacIntyre, Nelson; Zak Matieschyn, NP, Castlegar; Dr. Dharma McBride, Nelson; Dr. Keith Merritt, Castlegar; Dr. Kelly Mieske, Nelson; Dr. Andrew Murray, Nelson; Dr. Tom Newth, Nelson; Tanya Peever, NP, Nelson; Dr. Michael Scully, Rossland; Dr. Leah Seaman, Nelson; Dr. Michael Slatnik, Greenwood; Dr. Ellen Smart, Castlegar; Dr. Miles Smith, Rossland; Dr. Marisa Van Der Vyver, Nelson