Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan at announcement of primary care centres across the province, June 5, 2018. (B.C. government)

Rural doctors, primary care get big share of B.C. doctor settlement

Family physicians giving way to salaried teams in clinics

The B.C. government’s new contract with 12,000 doctors contains only a 0.5 per cent annual increase in pay for office visits, as the government shifts from fee-for-service to primary care clinics with physicians on salary.

The raise in traditional doctor pay is only one quarter of the standard settlement with B.C. government unions in the NDP government’s wage mandate. The deal also includes pension improvements, support for increasingly scarce family practice and primary care networks that are expanding to reach the growing number of people who can’t find a family doctor.

Health Minister Adrian Dix acknowledged that as baby boom doctors retire, new physicians are less likely to take over a family practice “and the administrative burden that comes with it.” One result is over-use of hospital emergency departments, as family doctors restrict their office hours.

READ MORE: Walk-in clinic doctors protest restriction on visit fees

READ MORE: Primary care centres aim to reduce swelling in ER

By the end of the three-year contract with doctors, overall spending is to be $331 million per year. The largest budget increase is $104.3 million to increase rural medical programs and after-hours services.

Dix announced the seventh “urgent and primary care centre” for Nanaimo April 3. The ministry defines urgent primary care as conditions that need attention within 12 to 24 hours, including minor cuts and burns, sprains, ear infections and urinary problems. They serve as a base for primary care teams that include nurse practitioners, mental health and addiction specialists and others in teams. The first five communities are Comox, South Okanagan-Similkameen, Prince George, Richmond and Burnaby, expanding around the province this year.

Announcing the Burnaby primary care centre in March, Dix pledged that the centre and networks will recruit 68 new health care providers over the next three years. This includes 10 general practitioners, 10 nurse practitioners, three pharmacists and 45 nursing and allied health care professionals.

Dix didn’t comment on whether existing family doctors are being recruited to staff primary care centres.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislature

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Help is available for Port Alberni businesses restarting after COVID-19 closures

Popular food truck finds a new location on Johnston Road

A LOOK BACK: recreation in Port Alberni’s downtown

Take a peek at Alberni Valley history with the Alberni Valley Museum

QUINN’S QUIPS: Port Alberni woman honoured for her love of helping

Carolina Tatoosh earns provincial honours for her work with Nuu-chah-nulth elders, youth

West Coast Trail to remain closed for now

Federal government won’t open world-famous trek until its First Nations are ready for visitors

B.C. legislature coming back June 22 as COVID-19 emergency hits record

Pandemic restrictions now longer than 2017 wildfire emergency

An ongoing updated list of Alberni Valley events affected by COVID-19

Has your event been cancelled or postponed? Check here

COVID-19: B.C. too dependent on foreign food production workers

New B.C. job site links unemployed with farm, seafood work

B.C. businesses ‘can’t shoulder burden’ of COVID-19 sick pay

Trudeau’s plan should be tied to federal emergency aid

RCMP remind public to leave dogs chilling at home on hot days

Dogsafe has designed a Dog in a Hot Car Responder Checklist

Another Asian giant ‘murder hornet’ found in Lower Mainland

This is the farthest east the invasive species has been found so far

B.C. girl left temporarily paralyzed by tick bite sparks warning from family

Mom says parents need to check their kids when they go camping

PHOTOS: Loved ones reunite at an oasis on closed U.S.-Canada border in Surrey

Officials closed the park in mid-March over coronavirus concerns

Feds delay national action plan for missing and murdered Indigenous women

Meanwhile, the pandemic has exacerbated the violence facing many Indigenous women and girls

Most Read