Ask the British Columbia government to attract and retain GPs

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We need to petition our BC government officials to update the payment strategy for family physicians. 

Do you wonder why we in BC cannot a family doctor when our GP retires or when you have moved from one city to another, or if you have just arrived?   Today I was told by my family doctor that the payment for doctors who work in hospitals is so much better, that only an idiot (my word, not hers) would become a GP and take on the responsibility of an office and regular patients.   And we know (and hope) that our doctors are not idiots.

This problem has been in the news for years.   See this article, published in 2017, which describes a GP who wished to find replacement doctors for his patients.   I know from friends that doctors don’t even bother to try and find replacement doctors for their patients these days.  It’s just too difficult.  Today I went to see my family doctor and she said something similar.   She moved to a clinic several years ago where she would have fellow doctors around who could support her patients when she was away and once she retired.   Now she is the only one left in the clinic and cannot find physicians willing to join her team. This is not what she envisioned. I could see she was close to tears.  I dread the day she tells me she is retiring. 

Over 15% of citizens in BC do not have a family physician. It has been suggested that this number will increase dramatically, as 40% of GPs are likely to retire in the next 8 to 10 years.  Yikes. see 

I live in Victoria, and if my clinic cannot get doctors in green and leafy Victoria, what is the rest of the province up against?  With the house prices in Vancouver and the remoteness of the northern communities, they must be struggling even more.

We need to reach out to our provincial government and let them know that it is time to fix the problem.   Walk in clinics are handy, but they don’t have the history or continuity to really help a patient long term.     And those lineups at the walk in clinics are pretty scary already, and likely to get worse.

The province is developing Urgent Care Centres. This may be a good idea to relieve emergency rooms, but what if your problem isn’t “urgent” – it’s just important and needs “a stitch in time” so you don’t end up in emergency?  What if you need someone who knows your history to review and renew your medications? 

Join me to urge our provincial government to find a fee structure that will attract, reward and retain family doctors who want to help patients for the long term.