Doctors of B.C., the professional organization that represents doctors across the province, has elected their new president – Golden’s Dr. Trina Larsen-Soles.
After a year of training as president elect, Larsen-Soles will begin a one-year term as president of the organization, which works closely with the government to help shape the provincial medical system. She narrowly beat out Vancouver-area doctor Brian Day, who is heavily involved in the private healthcare debate.
Even though the majority of the 10,000 voluntary members are practising in urban areas, rural physicians are very well represented on the board.
“Even though I am a rural doctor that does not mean that I will be focusing solely on rural issues,” said Larsen-Soles. “None of us are alone. We’re all in a system together, so we have to look at what is best for all of us.”
Having spent her entire career in Golden, Larsen-Soles has a very good understanding of how rural medicine is connected to the provincial system. And even though she is eager to help facilitate some changes, that does not mean that she thinks Canadian healthcare is a broken system.
“I strongly support the public system, but we could do a better job,” she said. “ Our system is decent, but it could be great.”
Her interest in advocating for change in the medical system began with a job action in 1998, in which doctors began fighting for their on-call shifts to be paid.
“Before that it was just considered part of the job to be on call,” said Larsen-Soles. “But when you have several 24-hour on-call shifts a week, it can be very disruptive to your life, especially if you have young children.”
After that she became more involved with the organization, and has served on several committees. She travels to Vancouver periodically for meetings, and will continue to do so for her year as president elect. However, next year as president she will have to split her time evenly between Golden and Vancouver.
“One of my biggest concerns will be getting better access for patients, especially vulnerable populations, which includes rural,” she said, adding that Golden is fortunate, and is one of the better supplied rural communities.
“I think that if we can improve the organization of our medical system, it could make a huge difference…both to rural and urban centres.”