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BC Green Party calls for overhaul of funding for family doctors

Click to play video: 'Growing calls for province to address family doctor shortage in B.C.' Growing calls for province to address family doctor shortage in B.C.
The Green Party is pushing for the province to address the family doctor shortage in B.C. -- in what it's calling a "crisis." Kylie Stanton has more, including how the government is responding. – Apr 6, 2022

BC Green MLAs Sonia Furstenau and Adam Olsen are calling on the provincial government to “immediately act on the family doctor crisis” in British Columbia.

The BC Greens are calling for a modernization of the fee-for-service payment model and to expand alternative payment models to better reflect the demand for in-person, longitudinal, and team-based care.

Currently, there are between 750,000 to 900,000 British Columbians without a family doctor.

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“The billing model is very outdated and does not provide the stability needed for good medical care,“ Furstenau said Wednesday.

“Doctors are basically running a small business instead of putting their focus into caring for their community members.”

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Read more: B.C.’s family doctors say they’re facing burnout amid ongoing COVID-19 pandemic

Furstenau, the party’s leader, says the current fee-for-service model is turning prospective doctors away from family practice.

The government has committed to supporting Urgent Primary Care Centres as part of a network of primary care options.

Last week, the BC Liberals presented a petition with over 12,000 signatures calling on the government to take expedited action on the family doctor shortage.

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Health Minister Adrian Dix says his government has put in place 27 new urgent and primary care centres and 54 new primary care networks.

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Dix also says the province has had a greater increase in family doctors than any other jurisdiction in Canada per capita.

“The issues that are raised are a struggle in the community. That’s why we continue to take those actions, continue to add resources to primary care,” Dix said last week.

“Since 2017, we’ve had more than one million visits to urgent and primary care centres in B.C., providing team-based care to people in the community. That is a specific and compelling response to a family practice shortfall and a primary care shortfall that existed prior to 2017, as the member will know.”

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