It is with sadness and frustration that I reply to Dr Suzanne Montemuro’s letter in the BCMJ [2022;64:105-106], “Where have all the family doctors gone?”
She chose to bring up the issue of physician remuneration as one reason there is a shortage of family doctors. On this issue I agree. However, her letter implies that specialists, in particular ophthalmologists, are overpaid. On this issue I completely disagree. I argue that family doctors are underpaid. I don’t know of any Canadian physician who feels overpaid. Ever.
Unless Dr Montemuro has experience with a successful application to a specialty residency program, successful completion of a Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada program, and experience practising as a surgical specialist, then I feel she is in no way qualified to imply that specialists are overpaid. I would be happy to have Dr Montemuro visit my office and surgery day so I may demonstrate to her some of the challenges and stressors, as well as the costs of my equipment and overhead, which are also 40% like hers. If she then still feels that I am overpaid, so be it.
I acquired my licence to perform family practice during my training and worked walk-in clinic shifts during residency to help pay my way through ophthalmology training. I feel I have enough experience to fairly state that family doctors are underpaid. Period. There is no need to imply that specialists are overpaid. This creates animosity among physicians. Exactly what some politicians want. Instead, we need to support the areas of family practice that require help, including remuneration.
—Robert Semeniuk, MD, FRCSC
This letter was submitted in response to “Where have all the family doctors gone?”
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