Hundreds Rally at BC Legislature to Demand Solution to Family Doctor Shortage

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Hundreds of people gathered on the grounds of the British Columbia Legislative Assembly in Victoria on Thursday to demand a solution to the province’s doctor shortage.

The event, which included doctors and health care advocates, was organized by the group BC Health Care Matters and was to coincide with World Family Doctor Day.


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West Kelowna rally calls for changes to increase access to family doctors


West Kelowna rally calls for changes to increase access to family doctors

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“We are tired of just hearing promises of things to come. We want to see what’s going to happen now and what are you going to do now? said organizer Camille Curie, who presented a petition with more than 42,000 signatures to the legislature.

“We are ready and willing to listen and meet at any time to discuss the immediate tangible solutions that our citizens and organizations deserve and need to see.”

The group says nearly a million British Columbians do not have a family doctor, and high demand at walk-in clinics has left people facing long wait times.


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Health issues: British Columbia continues to face doctor shortages and clinic closures


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Protesters are calling on the provincial government to create an action plan to address the shortage.

Metchosin family physician Robert O’Connor was among the crowd Thursday and said he would like to see three steps from the province immediately.

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“One of them is to increase educational opportunities for people who want to join the front lines. Second, to have a compensation model such that young graduates can both secure housing and pay for their staff and expenses at the same time,” he said.

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“And number three would be a long-term commitment to say ‘look, here’s a long-term plan for whatever, a funding model, supports, so young people can join a clinic and have confidence that they are here for the long haul.'”

Medical student Mira Wade told Global News she was forced to apply to study in Ireland after being rejected twice by UBC medical school.

Being trained abroad means she’ll have a harder time getting a residency in British Columbia, she said, and she fears the lack of space at local medical schools will push would-be doctors to leave the province.


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“I would love to serve (Vancouver Island), I want to come home and meet the needs of my people in my community,” she said.

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“Unfortunately, I now have to compete for a place to return to the island.”

Many of the rally participants were dressed in black, indicating that they do not have a family doctor.

Many protesters also carried signs lambasting the government for spending nearly $800 million on a new Royal BC Museum instead of putting the money into health care.

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It was a contrast that British Columbia Liberal MP Shirley Bond used to address the crowd.

“It’s about priorities, political decisions, and a good start would be to cancel the billion dollar museum project across the street and invest those dollars in supporting the professionals of health,” Bond said.

Several issues are underpinning the family physician crisis in the province, including retirements and physician dissatisfaction with BC’s fee-for-service model.

Family doctors also say they need financial support to cover the costs of running a small business, as well as a plan to train and accredit more doctors.


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Health Minister Adrian Dix said his government was aware of the challenges and was working with doctors to find a solution to their concerns.

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“The needs of young physicians who want to enter family practice and see better opportunities elsewhere, we need to advocate for family practice for young medical residents,” he said.

“We need to work on the nature and business model of primary care, and a fee-for-service system where physicians are responsible for organizing their business is not very attractive to young physicians and further puts plus physicians who have exercised their patients for decades under pressure.

Dix said his government had also added 600 family doctors since 2017 and invested heavily in team-based care through new primary care networks in the province, but acknowledged there was still work to be done. .

– with files from Kylie Stanton of Global News

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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