April 2022

Dear Galiano Resident or Guest,

Galiano Island health care is in a growing crisis. Here are the realities:

  • Dr. von Dehn has already left the Clinic, Dr. Carlson leaves in August. Both positions are being advertised along with a recently approved additional .5 position. However, with 155 vacant positions in Island Health, we’re in a very long line up. Locums are in short supply and weeks here can remain unfilled by a locum physician.
  • Summer ferry changes will reduce Nurse Practitioner on-island days from 4 to 3 days.
  • Although we provide urgent/emergent care there are many times this is unavailable. Soon this will worsen, the only option is evacuation to Vancouver Island, weather permitting. Rural communities share this access meaning waits can be long. When a Physician/NP is available for urgent care it can mean cancellation of routine appointments.

There’s a national shortage of health care professionals, so what makes us special?

  • We have no access to alternative care. In most communities there is access to walk-in clinics or emergency room, or to other health care professionals such as pharmacists. The on-call system, speaking to a doctor on another island, is sufficient for regular after-hours concerns, but urgent/emergent care requires hands on assessment.
  • We have a high proportion of retired and elderly people and many younger people working in high-risk trades.
  • In addition to our residents, which have dramatically increased in recent years, we annually host thousands of visitors who not infrequently need urgent medical care.
  • There is little housing available for health care providers wishing to live on-island. The increasing unreliability of the ferry system makes it more and more difficult to fill gaps in care with locums or other part-time health care providers.

What can you do?

  • Write a letter to the CEO of Island Health expressing your concern and why Galiano must be given priority in recruitment as well as funds for stop-gap measures. See a sample letter and addresses on the reverse side. A digital version for emailing is available BELOW.
  • Let your health care relatives/friends know about this opportunity, and if you can provide rental housing on a short or longer term.
  • Attend the GHCS AGM, 1:00pm, Sunday May 1st, South Galiano Hall to learn more.
  • Our health care providers and staff work under extreme pressure. Although frustrating to have a cancelled or delayed appointment please remember that these are beyond our control and treat the clinic staff with respect and support.

The Board and the Clinic are working to find immediate, if temporary, health care coverage, while concentrating on finding the coverage necessary to ensure a healthy community. Please do not contact the Clinic about this issue, as they have no additional information.

Ultimately, it is your active support that will determine that we are listened to.


The Board of Directors of the Galiano Health Care Society


Instructions: Copy and paste this text into your email, and then copy and paste the email addresses into the To: and cc: fields

If you would like a copy of this letter as a Word Document, please email and one will be sent to you. Thanks!

April _______ , 2022

Kathy MacNeil

CEO, Vancouver Island Health Authority

1952 Bay Street

Victoria, BC V8R 1J8


Dear Ms. MacNeil:

Re: Physician service for Galiano Island

I am a resident of Galiano Island, BC and am writing to you about an imminent health crisis for our community. Galiano’s population includes a high proportion of seniors, and the whole community is completely reliant on the physician and nurse practitioner medical services at the Galiano Health Care Clinic. Unlike in Victoria, there is no alternative here if we need primary and urgent health care, and transportation off-island to seek care can be problematic.

Last year one of the two physicians who shared a full-time VIHA contract position at the Clinic left, and the second physician is leaving at the end of August. Filling the physician vacancies at the Galiano Health Care Clinic is essential to meet the basic health care needs of our island community.

We are all aware that there is a physician shortage throughout the region, but given the crucial role of the physician for our community’s health care, will VIHA make recruitment of a physician(s) for Galiano a priority? I also understand that the requirement for the physician to cover significant overhead costs is a serious impediment to recruitment that VIHA needs to address. Will VIHA take immediate action to resolve this overhead issue?

Until a physician(s) can be recruited to fill the vacancies on Galiano Island, will VIHA provide additional support for nurse practitioner and paramedicine services?

Thank you for your attention to these urgent matters.




Honorable Adrian Dix, Minister of Health
PO Box 9050, Stn. Prov. Govt.,
Victoria, BC V8W 9E2

Adam Olsen, MLA, Saanich North and the Islands
#215- 2506 Beacon Ave.
Sydney, BC
V8L 1Y2

Sign our petition

Do you have a spare minute today to help us send a loud message that we need to have guaranteed 24/7 ambulance coverage on Galiano? Please sign our petition.

Make a Donation

See Make a Donation page.

become a member

See Become a Member page.

Together we make health care happen!

The Galiano Health Care Society receives no government funding to run the health care clinic, and provide space and equipment for your health care providers. YOU are the essential link between quality local health care and the community.

The Society runs various fundraising activities during the calendar year, and we urge you to participate in any and all!

See events to start making your plans now!

Fundraising- Constant Community Support

Unlike the hospital emergency room or clinic you might visit in virtually any other community in the province, the Galiano Health Clinic does not receive a single dollar of tax money to fund its operations.

The fees for the doctors and nurses who work here and some of the emergency room supplies are funded in the same way they would be in other communities. However, all of the costs of maintaining the facility, paying all support staff and providing a variety of programs within the community are paid for entirely by the Galiano Health Care Society a non-profit organization. The operation of the Society is the responsibility of the Board of Directors and its Executive Committee, all of whom are volunteers.

Because we receive no outside funding, all of our operations are funded by donations from non-profit organisations such as the Galiano Thrift Store and various fund raising activities, like the very popular annual Galiano Wine Festival which occurs in August of each year, and which we would welcome you to attend.