B.C.’s family doctor announcement ‘disingenuous’, specialist says

Fifty-four new family physicians is a start, but where are the rest?

That’s one of the questions being asked as some front-line critics weigh in on the dozens of new general practitioners who have signed contracts, accepting new incentives to provide primary care in British Columbia.

With the family doctor shortage leaving about a million British Columbians without easy access to primary care, these dozens of recently graduated doctors committing to two years of community practice are, of course, a help.

But, an outspoken internal medicine specialist in North Vancouver says the headline from the Health Ministry is “disingenuous.”

Related Articles:

“This is [the] government not telling the whole story. We have 19 family practice training program sites throughout B.C. We graduate 174 family medicine residents per year each July. Yet 54 only sign on to work in this model? Where are the rest? These ‘new’ docs were coming regardless,” says Dr. Kevin Mcleod on Twitter.

Mcleod questions the massive investment saying, “You paid a ton of tax dollars to train them but only 31% are signing up for this work? It doesn’t even cover retirements the same year.”

Mcleod argues that “a more honest press release would have said ’54 out of the 174 doctors we trained choose a salary model instead of fee for service or a different job. Hopefully, that keeps them in family practice. We are trying new models to help keep our family medicine graduates in the system.'”

On Wednesday, the Ministry of Health announced the 54 newly graduated family physicians have accepted new incentives from B.C. — designed to attract new family doctors — signing a two-year contract that provides a boosted first-year salary of $295,457, a $25,000 signing bonus, medical training debt forgiveness of up to $50,000 for the first year and up to $20,000 for years two to five, and a $75,000 payment to go toward clinic overhead costs.

“People in B.C. will benefit from better access to care with 54 new doctors having signed contracts as of Oct. 1, 2022, to provide full-service primary care in communities throughout the province,” reads the release.

Dr. Anna Wolak from Vancouver, a frequent contributor to CityNews tweeted online saying, “No one knows what will happen after these two-year contracts are up. Will these doctors stay in family practice in B.C.? Or will they leave either B.C., family practice, or medicine altogether? WHO KNOWS?”

The ministry says another 60 family physicians are in discussions and 140 in total have “expressed interest” in the incentives.

“Is ‘expressed interest’ a euphemism for ‘they signed up to receive information then ran away screaming when they realized that it wasn’t as good a deal as it’s being made out to be?'” Wolak adds.

The incentives, announced in June, are part of the province’s Health Human Resources Strategy meant to improve and increase access to healthcare.

Top Stories

Top Stories

Most Watched Today