Victoria doctor forced into early retirement as specialist moves into rental space

General practitioner says he can’t afford rising rents, even amidst doctor shortage

Amidst a province-wide doctor shortage, one Victoria doctor might be forced into early retirement.

Paul Brigel has had his practice at 2020 Richmond Road for three years, but with his lease about to expire and a specialist moving in, the 74-year-old doctor says he has no where to go.

RELATED: Esquimalt needs urgent health care facility, mayor says

Now, he says he is being forced to leave, and his landlord has informed him that a cardiologist will be taking over the unit, paying far more than the $1,350 per month Brigel has paid for the space.

And Brigel said his rental searches have failed to reveal anything affordable. He takes about eight to 12 patients a day, and makes approximately $30 per patient – too little, he says, to afford the overhead of rising rental prices.

“Rents have gone up but our salaries have not gone up,” he said, referring to general practitioners in B.C.

Brigel also brings in money by working as a clinical assistant professor for the University of British Columbia, teaching students at his Victoria practice.

And while he’s considering taking on house calls after he leaves the rental space, he says he will likely retire early – this October.

RELATED: B.C. launches plan to tackle doctor shortage, emergency room congestion

Roslin Stuart, a patient of Brigel, suffers from Lupus and is concerned about what will come next for her.

“It’s horrendous, because if you have a serious illness, you need a doctor who knows your history and your background,” she said. “If you go into a walk-in clinic you’re meeting a new doctor every time.”

“Hopefully something will be done to help these doctors with their huge overheads,” she added. “We as the public need new doctors.”

When asked about the eviction, Brigel’s landlord said he can’t comment on the rates he charges tenants but said he wanted to get a specialist into the unit.

RELATED: Calling all doctors: Victoria physicians on board with recruitment train

RELATED: B.C. medical students call for more residency spots to curb doctor shortage

Dr. Paul Brigel, a Victoria-based general practitioner, is going into early retirement after being evicted from his unit on Richmond Street. Brigel said he can’t afford the rising rents in the city. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)



nina.grossman@blackpress.ca

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