Statement: Nurse practitioners cannot replace doctors

May 11, 2022

On May 10, 2022, BC’s Health Minister Adrian Dix made the following comments in the legislature:

“I really emphasize family doctors and nurse practitioners because I think nurse practitioners…. I'm not saying they can provide better primary care, but for many people, they do. Their attachment or attachment requirements are slightly less because nurse practitioners tend to spend more time with patients. We've seen this in our analysis of a nurse practitioner–only clinic. They take patients with a severity of need that is higher, right now, in those clinics.”

In response, we are releasing the following statement:

Doctors in our province have the utmost respect for the important role that nurses and nurse practitioners (NPs) play in the delivery of health care to patients. However, NPs cannot replace doctors, and they do not provide better care. It is worth noting that NPs have more time to spend with patients due to the way they are paid; we know patients value spending time with their healthcare practitioner - something family doctors currently lack due to the multiple pressures upon them.

Family doctors have invested in multiple years of clinical training. Those family doctors providing longitudinal care are our experts in family medicine. Doctors working together with nurses, nurse practitioners, and other health professionals as a team will mean better care for patients. We need more family doctors so that we can do this as a team, working together. We need the government to acknowledge the value of the family doctor as a vital, critical part of our health care system, and to work with us to solve the serious shortage of family doctors in our province.

Editors note: This article has been updated to include the full quote from Health Minister Adrian Dix.