Doctors of BC is committed to addressing the challenges in our primary care system. Almost one million British Columbians do not have a family doctor. It is critical that steps are taken to significantly improve recruitment and retention of family doctors who provide longitudinal care, so that patients can get the quality care they need and deserve.
On May 17, we met with Premier John Horgan and Health Minister Adrian Dix. Our goal was to ensure government understands the challenges we face as physicians trying to provide the best care for our patients, and to seek commitment to start working on solutions.
We had a frank, honest and robust discussion, in which both the Premier and Minister agreed that physicians are the foundation of primary care. We acknowledged the investment government has made in primary care, particularly in developing and enhancing team-based care, which we strongly support as an important strategy to support Community Longitudinal Family Physicians.
We are pleased that the Premier directed Deputy Minister Stephen Brown to immediately start working with Doctors of BC to develop new and/or enhanced payment models for longitudinal family medicine. To ensure progress is made, the Ministry and Doctors of BC will develop a firm timeline with tangible outcomes. Doctors of BC will be engaging with our members so that all physicians have a voice. The Premier also acknowledged that significant funding will be needed, beyond monies that may be transferred from the federal government.
The Minister added that government will consider alternate governance models for Primary Care Networks and Urgent and Primary Care Centres, in communities where they are needed. He agreed that the forum for innovation in this area is our joint collaborative table, the General Practice Services Committee (GPSC), and with input from Divisions of Family Practice.
It’s time to get to work on solutions on behalf of our patients. We look forward to tackling these issues, representing all of our members - family doctors and specialists - who are working hard and struggling to provide medical care in their communities. And we acknowledge that actions, ultimately, speak louder than words.