DoBC in the media

This webpage includes the latest news articles, video and audio interviews, and media appearances featuring Doctors of BC, and its spokespersons. For a daily summary of curated healthcare news on a local, national, and global scale, members can subscribe to our Newsflash email newsletter by managing their newsletter preferences (login required).

CTV News
February 13, 2024

President, Dr Ahmer Karimuddin, spoke at the Ministry of Health news conference supportive of the milestones the Longitudinal Family Practice model has achieved in one year, but acknowledging there are still access issues, including patients waiting for specialty care.

February 12, 2024

Dr Karimuddin, president of Doctors of BC, said the changes in the past year have allowed new doctors to start up or return to family practices. Some have even delayed retirement.

November 3, 2023

Last year, the BC government introduced changes to the way family doctors are paid and a local physician says he’s already noticed an improvement.

Times Colonist logo
October 16, 2023

A provincial leader in ending gender-based violence returned home to Victoria on Friday from Calgary, where she had hip surgery at a private clinic after giving up on the idea of waiting for the surgery in BC. Dr Joshua Greggain, president of Doctors of BC, said BC is not in favour of privatization and therefore there are no private surgical centres for joint replacement surgeries. “When we talk about privatized health care, and someone who can go get a hip replacement for $20,000, that may be out of reach for many people,” said Greggain.

CBC Listen logo
October 11, 2023

BC is the first province to sign an individual health deal with the federal government over three years. President of Doctors of BC, Dr Josh Greggain weighed in on the deal and the impact it will have on health care in the province. "We believe a further investment into healthcare from the federal perspective into our province's health care system is a good thing."

CityNews
October 4, 2023

Masking is now mandatory for many people in certain health-care settings across BC. Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced last week the return of mask mandates for health-care workers, visitors, and volunteers in patient-care areas of places like hospitals and other public facilities. Masks are not mandatory in private practices, along with dentist and chiropractor offices. Dr Joshua Greggain, president of Doctors of BC, says the rules are a necessary move. “To be honest, none of us totally love wearing a mask all the time. But, it’s what we do as health-care professionals. We help protect patients, we help protect the patients who are most vulnerable, who are elderly, who are at risk.”

Times Colonist logo
September 28, 2023

BC could soon see physician assistants hired to help doctors in emergency departments such as the one at Saanich Peninsula Hospital, where staffing shortages have led to closings. Doctors of BC president Dr Joshua Greggain said the association has been pushing for physician assistants since 2013. “We’re very thankful that’s being done now — the sooner the better,” said Greggain.

September 28, 2023

The BC government is bringing back masks in all health-care settings. Global News has obtained a memo sent from the Ministry of Health to health-care providers on the plan that is expected to be announced Thursday at a press conference. Doctors of BC president, Dr Joshua Greggain, said with back to school “inevitably there's an exchange of viruses, and that includes COVID.”

CTV News
September 27, 2023

Dozens of foreign-trained doctors are now working under special licenses requiring supervision in BC hospitals, while more are being recruited for deployment as family doctors in urgent care centres, CTV News has learned. Health Minister Adrian Dix confirmed that the province has employed “associate physicians” in acute care, with 120 more positions posted. The president of the Doctors of BC pointed out that other parts of Canada have “clinical associates” who also work under the supervision of physicians, and recognizes the potential pressures and precarity of the jobs.

CBC News
September 11, 2023

BC's health minister said the province's emergency rooms are seeing unusually high levels of patient demand in a trend that may be a "new normal." Doctors of BC president Dr Joshua Greggain welcomed Dix's visit and attention to Surrey Memorial but said doctors at the facility and across BC are still feeling stretched. "Our physicians still feel very much it is a very busy emergency room," Greggain told CBC News. "The hospital is still very busy and so there's still lots of work to do." 

CityNews
July 17, 2023

Doctors in BC say they’re still waiting to get paid agreed-upon fee increases. The province says both the Ministry of Health and Doctors of BC “are undertaking a multi-step process per the terms of the PMA to allocate the funding to individual physician fees. Approval on the allocations is expected soon.” However, the situation is not sitting well with many physicians. The delay is causing frustration for doctors who are already under financial stress. “It definitely doesn’t bode well. The (Physician) Master Agreement and the negotiated (Longitudinal Family Physician) agreement were really trying to help make sure that medicine in British Columbia — both family practice and specialty care — is something that everyone wants to do and is sustainable, and this is definitely a step in the wrong direction,” Doctors of BC President Dr Joshua Greggain said Friday. 

July 6, 2023

BC has expanded access to a site that matches doctors with one of the 890,000 people who don't have a family physician in the province. Richard Zussman explains.

CBC News
June 28, 2023

Starting Thursday morning, British Columbians will be able to book appointments online with pharmacists to access prescription medication for several minor ailments and illnesses.

British Columbians will be able to book appointments with pharmacists in person or by phone.

Doctors of B.C. president Dr. Joshua Greggain said the province is experiencing a crisis of primary care access — and pharmacists can be a valuable tool in combating that.

"I think nobody feels the [issue of] access to family doctors more than the family doctors or the physicians of this province. Specialists, patients, family doctors are all trying to get different access to care than what we currently have," Greggain said. "As there's an opportunity to add further team players, I think that's generally a good thing. However, how it's done— ensuring that it's done safely and ensuring it's done collectively and collaboratively — is really important. The last thing we need is further fragmentation."
 

Times Colonist logo
June 12, 2023

Doctors of B.C. president Joshua Greggain, who is based in Victoria, wrote to physician members this week to say the association has been working to streamline the re-referral process, which he called burdensome to referring practitioners, consultants and patients. The requirement for re-referrals forced patients with a family physician to book appointments just to request a referral to see their specialist again. Specialists’ offices were unable to book subsequent visits after six months until they received the required re-referral paperwork from the family doctor or other practitioner. The result was more work for increasingly busy doctors. “It’s one of the burdens from an administration of practice that has beleaguered both family physicians and specialists,” said Greggain. “This was one thing we could change and find some common interests.” Read more...

CTV News
June 8, 2023

Surrey Memorial Hospital will undergo an expansion to increase capacity for inpatient and outpatient care, surgeries, and clinical programs, according to Health Minister Adrian Dix. While details of the expansion are yet to be revealed, Dix announced several immediate and medium-term measures to address the hospital's current challenges. Read more.

Times Colonist logo
May 31, 2023

Health Minister Adrian Dix is facing a “staggering” health care crisis as dozens of physicians at five BChospitals have come forward to raise the alarm about unsafe conditions they say are putting patients at risk. The latest open letter was from women’s health providers at Surrey Memorial Hospital who say inadequate resources are compromising patient care and were a factor in the death of a newborn baby in 2020.  Dr Joshua Greggain, president of Doctors of BC, confirmed there’s been an increase in patients being admitted to hospital with no doctor attached. “That’s not a safe way to provide care,” he said. Greggain said while a shortage of hospitalists is one factor putting stress on emergency departments, other factors include the number of people coming to emergency rooms because of the opioid crisis, the mental health crisis and the shortage of family doctors. Read more...

Vancouver Sun
May 30, 2023

Health Minister Adrian Dix is on the defensive after dozens of BC physicians have penned letters outlining unsafe conditions in hospitals they say are putting patients at risk.

Dr. Joshua Greggain, president of Doctors of B.C., confirmed there’s been an increase in patients being admitted to hospital with no doctor attached.

“That’s not a safe way to provide care,” he said. Greggain said while a shortage of hospitalists is one factor putting stress on emergency departments, other factors include the number of people coming to emergency rooms because of the opioid crisis, the mental health crisis and the shortage of family doctors.

May 25, 2023

British Columbia’s health minister is responding to bombshell allegations from a longtime emergency room doctor about the “crisis” at Surrey Memorial Hospital. Dr Urbain Ip, now a clinical assistant professor at UBC’s Department of Emergency Medicine and the former medical director at Surrey Memorial, told Global News Tuesday he wouldn’t send his own family members to the facility.  Addressing the issues plaguing BC’s emergency rooms will take more than one solution, according to the president of Doctors of BC. “If the solution was easy, it would be done already,” Dr Joshua Greggain said. Greggain said the pressure being felt at Surrey’s ER and others around the province is a symptom of bigger problems throughout the primary care system. Read more...

Chek News logo
May 24, 2023

They were the heroes of the pandemic but now the years of stress and burnout are taking their toll on healthcare workers contributing to a serious staffing shortage. “We’re having a handful of physicians and nurses either walk away or do things either for their personal safety or their own personal well-being,” said Doctors of BC President Dr Joshua Greggain. According to emergency room physician Dr Jeff Unger it’s one of the key reasons Saanich Peninsula’s ER will be facing overnight staff shortages in the months ahead. There, an on-call physician will only support patients with serious medical needs and patients can expect much longer waits than usual. Read more...

CityNews
May 18, 2023

BC Health Minister Adrian Dix is pushing back against claims that Surrey Memorial Hospital (SMH) is in “crisis.” Speaking on Wednesday, Dix says the NDP is trying to undo years of neglect under the previous Liberal government. “Fraser Health was particularly badly treated by the previous government. The idea that you would do less MRIs in Fraser Health with 800,000 more people than in Vancouver Coastal Health just showed a secondary priority, and so we’ve changed that,” he said. Dix’s comments come after doctors in Surrey Memorial Hospital’s Emergency Room issued a scathing letter Monday describing what they’re calling a “crisis” at the facility. Released in response to the Doctors of BC Section of Emergency Medicine news last week, the physicians, who have not included their names, say they are “compelled to inform the public of the unsafe conditions that have come to exist in our hospital, and what has been told to the community is incomplete.” Read more...

CBC Listen logo
May 12, 2023

Dr Gord McInnes, co-President of the Section of Emergency Medicine, and Mike Old of the Hospital Employees Union joined CBC's Dan Burritt to discuss the emergency room issues in British Columbia. “This is a long time coming and the ED should be seen as the canary in the coalmine, in the sense that as our system has degraded, the problems in the ED have become more highlighted", McInnes explained. From the COVID-19 pandemic, to increased violence and poor staff mental health, emergency rooms across the province are pushed to the edge. "It's a chronic crisis that has been exacerbated over time”, all across the province McInnes said. Listen to the interview

CTV News
May 11, 2023

The “near catastrophic" situation at Langley Memorial Hospital's emergency department, first reported by CTV News this week, is just one example of what BC doctors say is a provincial crisis. The “dire” and “unsafe” conditions in the Langley department were highlighted in a memo sent by Dr Jeff Plante in which he urged his colleagues in Fraser Health not to send patients to the hospital, saying the facility was “overrun” due to an influx of patients and that staffing shortages on wards have led to very sick people being warehoused in the ED. On Wednesday, Doctors of BC issued a statement saying the issues raised in the memo are not isolated to Langley and that they are shining a spotlight on the untenable and potentially dangerous situation unfolding at hospitals across the province. Read more...

May 8, 2023

Dr Davidicus Wong, a family physician in Burnaby, who is leading the walk, talks to CBC's Gloria Mackarenco about Doctors of BC's annual Walk With Your Doc event. According to Wong, simply walking can “make a huge difference”. Moderate physical activity, for 150 minutes a week can reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes, and many more health concerns. “It's actual physicians walking to talk, getting out there with their community. It promotes community connection and physical activity”, Wong said of the event. Listen to the interview

CTV News
May 5, 2023

Canada’s biggest testing and diagnostics company is offering “various diagnostic tests” for long COVID to British Columbians, even though the national health agency clearly states the condition isn’t detectible via testing. A section of the LifeLabs website titled “long COVID testing” suggests people with post-infection symptoms bring a guide to their doctor to order an array of tests, which the company indicates are almost all covered by the provincial Medical Services Plan. The president of Doctors of BC agrees with the national public health agency, and pointed out the testing recommended is so broad – it’s essentially useless. “What they're suggesting is very, very all-inclusive and not necessarily a diagnostic for anything, including long COVID,” said Dr Josh Greggain.

CBC News
April 12, 2023

WorkSafeBC is calling on employers to improve their violence-prevention strategies after new data revealed a 25-per-cent increase in workplace claims related to violence in the past five years.

"I have absolutely been physically hit, kicked or spit on over the course of my career," said Dr. Joshua Greggain, president of Doctors of B.C.

Greggain says staff shortages have exacerbated risks of hospital violence, and it helps to have other staff with the ability to de-escalate potentially violent situations.

"When physicians are trained, they're asked to look after patients and care for them," he said. "They aren't necessarily trained in having to deal with violence or escalating situations."

CityNews
March 21, 2023

Doctors of BC says it fully supports a recent proposal to bring in a new national standard for medical licensing, although it’s skeptical about the feasibility of the suggested strategy.

Doctors of BC President Joshua Greggain says the organization is in full support of Poilievre’s recent call to improve and speed up healthcare professionals’ integration around Canada. “National licensure and portability between province would be a really good thing to help the physician supply as well as the nurses,” he said.

Greggain adds he does believe national licensing and portability between provinces would help the healthcare worker shortage, but for it to happen he says it would take national collaboration, which is tough to do in the current landscape.

Chek News logo
March 20, 2023

Doctors of BC president says he is optimistic about the number of family doctors signing up for the new pay model. After implementing the new payment model for family doctors in the province that came into effect Feb. 1, roughly half of the family doctors in the province have signed on as of March 10. “At the six-week mark, we’re very pleased that nearly half the physicians across the province have opted into this model, it continues to affirm for me that, I think, this model is reflective of what needed to happen,” said Dr. Josh Greggain said in an interview with CHEK News.