I know people in Oak Bay are concerned about our health care system and have ideas about how to meet the health care needs of our community. I’ve met people advocating for changes to our healthcare system at all levels of government. As a government, we’ve been listening to these calls for change and working to fix a health care system that hadn’t had the support of previous administrations for so long. We’re trying to get it right and provide the best service to all British Columbians.
One of the things we are hearing from doctors and patients in BC is that the GP payment model is not working and is no longer meeting their needs – we are taking action on this and just announced a new reimbursement for GPs model, which we believe will help reduce pressure on existing GPs and attract new ones. This new opt-in model will allow family doctors to be paid not only based on the number of patients they see each day, but also the time spent by patients and the complexity of the problems they encounter.
We also released a human resources strategy to improve the efficiency of our healthcare system and help retain and train more health workers. This multi-year strategy is already underway, and a major move currently underway is to expand pharmacists’ prescribing rights so you don’t have to visit your doctor every time you get a prescription. Pharmacists can now adjust and update a wider range of prescriptions and will be able to administer a wider range of medicines. We are also working to extend the expiry date of prescriptions and working with the College of Pharmacists to allow pharmacists to prescribe ailments and birth control pills by next spring.
The impact of our government’s work is already being felt. Through the June 2022 announcement of the incentives for new family medicine graduates to practice in the British Columbia community, we have seen 54 new physicians sign up for contact and 60 more are in the pipeline. These incentives, such as signing bonuses and debt relief, will help these family physicians work with patients in communities across British Columbia, helping thousands of people get the primary care they need.
We are also taking action to recognize the qualifications of more doctors and health care workers trained outside the province, so that they can join the health care workforce and do the work they have been learning to do. In addition, we plan to train more physicians and healthcare professionals in the province by expanding the UBC Medical School program, continuing our plan to build a second medical school in BC, and continuing to invest in adding hundreds of post-secondary education seats to allied health staff and nurses.
There is more work to do, and we will continue this work to ensure everyone gets the care they need in our communities and communities across BC. We are pleased that progress has been made.
Murray Rankin is Oak Bay-Gordon Head’s MLA.
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