$25k per doctor as temporary stopgap to 'crumbling primary health care system'

Province announces short term cash for family physicians

  • Money goes to doctors for four months starting October
  • It's a temporary measure for those struggling to meet rising costs

The provincial government has announced new immediate short-term funding of $25,000 per family physician to address what a leading official has labelled a “crumbling foundation to the primary health care system.”

The hope is the money - $118 million in total over four months from Oct.1 through Jan.31 next year – will be a temporary solution to doctor burnout and help keep local community walk-in and family physician clinics open while a new funding compensation model is thrashed out between the province and B.C.’s doctors.

Around 900,000 British Columbians do not have a family doctor.

The short-term cash is aimed at those family physicians facing rapidly escalating overheads in both walk-in clinics and those offering what’s known as longitudinal care or long-term relationship-based care.

Health Minister Adrian Dix said this amounts to around 70 per cent of family physicians in this province.

“This is a key first step to stabilize the system while we build a new compensation model,” Dix said at a media briefing Wednesday. “It addresses a key question of overhead that’s been raised by family doctors with us, and it impacts patients and citizens who are patients of those family doctors.”

Dr. Ramneek Dosanjh, president of Doctors of BC, said the funding is a vital first step in dealing with the crisis of access to a physician.

“We have a crumbling foundation of our primary care system,” she said. “That’s what we need to support; robust support for those docs that are bleeding on the ground that can’t keep their clinic doors open because of the rising cost of business.

“I think we need to acknowledge outpatient’s matter. Doctors are more concerned about patients and their well-being, and the access and attachment for those patients in our family medicine clinics is of priority.”

Dosanjh stressed the four months of funding was temporary while a new funding model was being devised to provide physicians with more options to provide the sort of care “… they went to medical school for.”

Published 2022-08-24 by Glenn Hicks

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