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.

Just Posted

Port Alberni RCMP identify suspect in locker room thefts

Multiple complaints came in about thefts from Echo Centre lockers

Logging truck accident briefly closes Franklin River Road near Port Alberni

A single vehicle rollover involving a logging truck temporarily closed Franklin River… Continue reading

Sports shorts: camps for kids, BC lawn bowling finals in Port Alberni

Lawn bowling BCs Port Alberni Lawn Bowling Club will host the provincial… Continue reading

Set wizards make it happen at Mainstage Festival in Port Alberni

Eight plays in eight nights means turnover timelines are tight

Diary of Anne Frank, Cherry Docs dominate Mainstage 2019 awards

Annual theatre competition wraps up in Port Alberni

Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman sentenced to life in prison

Experts say he will likely wind up at the federal government’s Supermax prison in Florence, Colorado

Olympic softball qualifier gets $150K boost from provincial government

2019 Americas Qualifier to be held in Surrey from Aug. 25-Sept. 1

Gas price inquiry questions Trans Mountain capacity, company denies collusion

The first of up to four days of oral hearings in the inquiry continue in Vancouver

‘Benzos’ and fentanyl a deadly cocktail causing a growing concern on B.C. streets

Overdoses caused by benzodiazepines can’t be reversed with opioid-overdose antidote naloxone

Chinook retention begins on North Island, but amid new size limit

DFO calls measures ‘difficult but necessary’ following rockslide on Fraser River

Will you be celebrating national hotdog day with any of these crazy flavours?

The popularity of hotdogs spans generations, cultures

Former home of accused Penticton shooter vandalized

Ex-wife of man who is accused of murdering four people had her house vandalized

Injured humpback returns to waters near Comox a year later

Photographer spotted Ocular near Comox again and noticed the whale has been healing

Survivor of near-drowning in B.C. lake viewing life through new eyes

“If I died that day, the baby wouldn’t know his dad,” said 31-year-old Mariano Santander-Melo.

Most Read