Thousands of patients across B.C. are now benefitting from increased access to family physicians.
B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix said 4,000 family doctors have registered with the new payment model in its first year, which has significantly increased access for British Columbians. As of December 2023, the province estimates there were 5,000 family physicians in total working in primary care.
“Last year, we committed to making every effort to rethink the way the province delivers primary care,” Dix said. “As we mark the first year of our new payment model with family physicians, we’re preparing to connect people to primary care like never before. Among our efforts to strengthen primary care, launching a new payment system for family doctors has allowed them to focus on what they do best — providing care to patients.”
Dix said the new Longitudinal Family Practice Payment Model is working exactly as intended and is allowing more community members to connect with doctors in their neighbourhoods.
According to the province, since launching the New to Practice Incentives Program for Family Physicians in September 2022, there are more than 230 new family physicians committed to providing longitudinal primary care under the program.
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There are also more than 230 nurse practitioners working in primary care under service contracts.
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The Ministry of Health said with these new health care workers, there have been more than 243,000 connections made between patients and providers, with an estimated 22,500 future attachments before the end of contracts is reached.
The ministry is working alongside the Doctors of BC, the Nurses and Nurse Practitioners of BC, and local primary-care networks to match patients with available providers, as quickly as possible.
“Taken together, these actions demonstrate a shift happening in primary care throughout B.C.,” added Dix. “It’s resulting in more doctors, more nurse practitioners, and more capacity to connect people to the primary care they need.”
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The capacity created within B.C.’s primary care system will support around 275,000 people, who are registered with the Health Connect Registry.
“As a result (of the new payment model), we are seeing a significant increase in the number of new family physicians for the first time in over a decade,” Dr. Ahmer Karimuddin said, Doctors of BC’s president.
“The Patient Attachment System is connecting patients with family doctors, and we will see much more of this taking place in the months to come. These are just a few of the building blocks on our journey to strengthen health care in our province.”
The Health Connect Registry is the first comprehensive registry for British Columbians seeking attachment to a family doctor or nurse practitioner in B.C.
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