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B.C. family doctors to receive funding from province

Family physicians in B.C. will be getting payments that are meant to hold them over until the province’s new funding model is introduced.

In a media release, B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix, says the $118 million worth of payments, which were announced in August, will help nearly 3,500 doctors who own their own practices, and over 1,000 that work in walk-in clinics.

“I am pleased to share that the first 3,164 family doctors across B.C. will receive an initial distribution of funds worth $107 million in stabilization payments to help ensure patients maintain continued access to primary care services,” Dix said.

The province says it will give out the remaining $11 million by mid-November for the eligible doctors who have not yet received payment.

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The B.C. government says the funding is intended to go toward family doctors and clinics that “commit to remaining open and maintaining consistent clinic hours while the new physician master agreement is negotiated.”

The family doctor shortage in B.C., which was made worse by the pandemic, has been dire for quite some time. It’s estimated about one million British Columbians don’t have access to a primary care provider.

The shortage has prompted calls from those in the healthcare sector asking the province to speed up recruitment, and retention efforts for family doctors in B.C.

Earlier in the month, the provincial government announced the signing of 54 newly graduated family doctors who had accepted new jobs.

In September, the B.C. government announced a strategy that promised 70 “key actions” including the recruitment, training, and retention of healthcare workers.

With files from Sonia Aslam 

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