An estimated one million patients in BC are waiting to see a specialist. Emergency Departments are overcrowded and at a breaking point. Serious staff shortages are impeding the delivery of specialty care. The challenges faced by specialists have also increased due to the crisis in primary care, where so many patients do not have a family physician. The result is that specialists are having to manage the primary care needs of their patients. All of these challenges are impacting outcomes and quality of life for those patients waiting to see a specialist or waiting for a specialty procedure/surgery.
Doctors of BC is advocating on behalf of the profession and patients to develop solutions. This web page will have regular updates that highlight some of the work we are doing to represent our specialists and their patients.
The Physician Master Agreement (PMA) governs compensation and benefits for Fee-for-Service and Alternatively Paid Physicians. It also includes other initiatives that can improve the work environment and care that specialists provide – such as supporting improved engagement between specialists and Health Authorities through funding Medical Staff Associations, and Quality Improvement activities through the Specialist Services Committee. To ensure the negotiations mandate is driven by physician priorities and interests, Doctors of BC seeks comprehensive member input which includes a consultation with Specialist Sections, as well as input provided from member surveys and town halls.
More information can be found in our Physician Master Agreement - How Negotiations Works webpage.
Addressing specialist challenges
Doctors of BC issued a statement in support of the Consulting Specialists of BC (cSBC) media campaign that has brought attention to the estimated one million British Columbians experiencing long waits for specialty care. Doctor of BC and cSBC have met with the Deputy Minister of Health to ensure that government understands the challenges faced by specialists, and to propose steps toward solutions. Updates on these meetings will be posted here as they occur.
One of our key goals is to develop an avenue to ensure that specialists are able to engage directly with government to provide meaningful input into solutions that address systems and operational issues relevant to them. We want specialists to be able to directly influence government before decisions are made. Another key goal is to examine options that strengthen the role of the Specialist Services Committee as a meaningful venue where real issues can be addressed and solutions found.
Emergency Department overcrowding
Doctors of BC was instrumental in organizing a meeting of the Section Heads of the Section of Emergency Medicine (SEM) and the Deputy Minister of Health, which resulted in the Deputy committing to the establishment of an Emergency Department and Hospital Capacity Task Group. This group is comprised of the three Section Heads of SEM, a number of facility-based Emergency physicians, Doctors of BC’s VP of Physician Affairs and Specialist Practice, and health authority and government representatives. Others will be brought in as needed to help shape solutions for specific areas.
This group is intended to be nimble and quick in developing needed actions to address overcrowding as we move into the busy flu and respiratory illness season, with the goal of leveraging this work into broader systems change. This is a win for ER doctors, and a key step that should lead to positive change in our hospital settings and in our outpatient settings as well.
Doctors of BC has formally communicated with government on behalf of surgical specialists and other specialty sections to share concerns expressed by anesthesiologists about the Ministry’s intention to introduce nurse anesthetists to BC.
Doctors of BC met with leaders of the BC Radiological Society and are supporting their media campaign to draw attention to the issue of delayed medical imaging. We are also working with the Society to further support them in their advocacy work with government.
In addition, we are:
Doctors of BC’s Board is committed to representing specialists in a number of ways that reflect both the unique challenges of specialist groups and their common ground. The VP of Physician Affairs and Specialist Practice plays a dual role as specialist physician and Doctors of BC staff at many tables where specialists and government are present, including: Patterns of Practice, Provincial MOCAP Review Committee, Community and Facility Engagement, Specialist Services Committee, and Measurement System for Physician Quality Improvement.
Doctors of BC is also building a strong relationship with Consultant Specialists of BC (cSBC). A representative has been invited to attend Board meetings as a guest, and the annual amount Doctors of BC provides to cSBC has doubled ($100,000) to assist them in delivering on their role to advocate for issues specific to our specialist members.
We also continue to organize Specialist Forums to hear, first-hand, concerns and challenges specialists are facing, as well as to seek input into how we can work together to resolve these challenges. Recent and upcoming Forums have focused on the Surgical Crisis, Nurse Anaesthetists, Emergency Department challenges, and Business Pathways.
Questions or comments? Email .