Access to Care

Access to Care

The Doctors of BC strategic framework identifies creating a system that provides patients with the access they need as being a requirement for the strategic goal of achieving the highest standard of health care for the public. As part of efforts to meet this requirement, Doctors of BC has developed policy to address barriers that reduce access to care, in particular access to specialized care, the impact of wait times, and service shortages. These policies are outlined in more detail below.

Wait Times and Patient Care Guarantees 

Wait times continue to be an issue of significant concern in the BC health system. Both physicians and their patients are affected by delays in accessing care. Doctors of BC has developed policy to advocate for needed action in the area of wait time reduction for key services and focused attention on reducing emergency department overcrowding.

Summary of Relevant Policy

  • To guarantee patient care, patients should be treated within established wait time benchmarks for key services and/or procedures, and this should be supported by the option to use another public or private facility if needed to meet the benchmark.
  • To mitigate emergency department wait times and overcrowding, the provincial government should consider measures including establishing maximum length of stay benchmarks, overcapacity protocols, bed optimization strategies, and expanding availability of functional acute care beds.
  • Wait-time and overcrowding reduction needs to be planned comprehensively and should involve key stakeholders, including Doctors of BC.

Doctors of BC Publications

Policy Statements:

Emergency Department Overcrowding

Wait Times and Patient Care Guarantees

 

Access to Acute Care

Due to an aging population and increasing case complexity, there is a growing need for access to acute care services. Despite this need, evidence suggests that the current availability of acute care services is not sufficient and is manifested through prolonged waits and delays. Doctors of BC has developed policy to address this concerning gap in access to acute care services.

Summary of Relevant Policy

  • Efforts to improve access to acute care must focus on establishing wait time benchmarks for acute care, increasing supply of acute care beds, managing beds effectively, investing in community-based care, and improving government accountability.
  • To better predict areas of need and to better allocate acute care resources, additional data collection and modelling is needed that is based on the realities of the practice setting and should be developed in collaboration with practicing physicians.

Doctors of BC Publications

Policy Papers:

Improving Access to Acute Care Services

Policy Statements:

Improving Access to Acute Care Services

 

Care for Youth in Transition

Successful transition from pediatric to adult care is the provision of uninterrupted, coordinated, developmentally appropriate, and psychologically sound health care. Unfortunately in BC there are a number of barriers to successful transitions in care for youth. These barriers include inappropriate transition, lack of adequate adult care providers, poor communication between providers, different service models, or unique and complex needs of patients. Doctors of BC has developed policy to speak to these barriers and advocate for improvements in transitioning youth to adult care.

Summary of Relevant Policy

  • Key steps to improving youth transitions to adult care include providing complex pediatric patients with access to a family physician from birth, developing individualized transition plans for pediatric patients graduating to adult care, and creating a method for ongoing tracking and evaluation of successful care transitions for youth.

Doctors of BC Publications

Policy Papers:

Closing the Gap – Youth Transitioning to Adult Care in BC

 

Care for Chronic Pain

Chronic pain is defined as pain that persists for more than 3-6 months and is an unpleasant physical and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage. Up to one in five adults in BC experience chronic pain and many experience adverse effects on their mental and physical health which can affect their employment and social relationships. While chronic pain services exist in BC, their availability is inconsistent and wait times are considerable. Doctors of BC has developed policy to raise awareness of the impact of chronic pain and to advocate for improvements in the availability of services and access to care.

Summary of Relevant Policy

  • To improve availability of and access to chronic pain care, government and key stakeholders should develop a Provincial Chronic Pain Strategy outlining an equitable, comprehensive, and coordinated pain management system designed to support timely access to quality multidisciplinary chronic pain services in BC.
  • The provincial strategy should include efforts to support professional education on chronic pain management for physicians, expansion of chronic pain research and quality improvement, and creating a stepped model of chronic pain care.

Doctors of BC Publications

Policy Statements:

Improving Chronic Pain Management in BC