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Northern doctors pan health authority

Just 30 per cent said physicians and medical leaders trust each other
Doctors of B.C. says there were 136 responses to the 2022 survey. (Black Press media file photo)

Northern doctors continue to have mixed reviews about the Northern Health Authority which governs much of their professional lives.

While 64 per cent of those who responded to a 2022 survey felt people are being treated fairly in the workplace, an increase from 53 per cent in 2021, just 30 per cent said physicians and medical leaders trust each other, a drop from 36 per cent in 2021.

And while a majority of doctors at 52 per cent said they were satisfied that Northern Health is a place to practice medicine, slightly more than the provincial average of 50 per cent, it does represent a drop from 55 per cent in 2021.

The matter of trust arose again when physicians were asked if they were involved in decision-making goals on the part of senior medical leaders. That dropped to 24 per cent in 2022, a decline from 30 per cent in 2021.

Physicians held the line at 46 per cent from 2021 to 2022 in indicating they had adequate opportunities to improve patient care, quality and safety.

Overall, the survey refers to engagement, a term used by doctors to define having a say in changes affecting their work environments. That grew by nine per cent from 2021 to 2022 to sit at 46 per cent.

The 2022 survey was the seventh annual one conducted by Doctors of B.C., the professional group which negotiates physician pay and which acts as the lobbying arm for doctors.

There was not that much different from what northern doctors felt compared to their colleagues in the rest of the province.

“Similar to last year, the 2022 health authority engagement survey results reflects a health system physicians feel is over-burdened and under-resourced. B.C. doctors continue to work in a system under constant pressure and constraints,” the Doctors of B.C. explanation of the annual check up stated.

“A continuing pandemic and shortages of human and other resources converged to counter the efforts and improvements of the past,” a summary of the survey stated. It did acknowledge that engagement has generally increased.

“While these were positive changes, over the last two years, many of the lessons learned have diminished, and this has resulted in negative impacts on morale, workload and stress.”

Doctors of B.C. says there were 136 responses to the 2022 survey. That’s less than the 435 family physicians alone that were practising in the north in 2022.

About the Author: Rod Link

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