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

Economic inequality, immigration still need work in Victoria: Prosperity index

Housing, environmental health factors show improvements in 2019: report

WATCH: Soon-to-be guide dogs take part in the Amazing Puppy Race

10 puppies training to be guide dogs took part in a social Easter egg hunt

Victoria City Councillor Laurel Collins wins federal NDP nomination

Collins will run for Victoria in the upcoming federal election

Eco warriors to shut down Douglas Street on Earth Day

Environmentalists to call on banks to divert investments into green infrastructure

Victoria church bells toll in solidarity with Notre Dame Cathedral after devastating fire

Churches around the globe ring bells to honour iconic Paris cathedral

POLL: How often does your family use BC Ferries?

Navigating the lineups for BC Ferries is a way of life for… Continue reading

Crime Stoppers most wanted for Greater Victoria for the week of April 16

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

B.C. senior sentenced for sexually abusing special-needs granddaughter

73-year-old Cortes Island man will go to jail for three years

Howe Sound Queen sailing toward retirement

Vessel now up for auction ends regular runs between Crofton and Vesuvius at the beginning of June

Should B.C. lower speed limits on side roads to 30 km/h?

Vancouver city councillor wants to decrease speed limits along neighbourhood side roads

Lawsuit eyed over union-only raise for B.C. community care workers

‘Low-wage redress’ leaves 17,000 employees out, employers say

Landlord of alleged Okanagan shooter recounts deadly day

Tony Friesen was working in one of the units of his Penticton building when he heard shots

Foreign national arrested in connection to thefts at YVR

A woman, 60, is being held in police custody as Richmond RCMP investigate

Most Read