New payment model sees 16.5% jump in B.C. family doctors, but more needed: minister

VANCOUVER — Health Minister Adrian Dix says the number of family doctors in British Columbia is increasing, but there are still almost 900,000 people without a primary care provider.

He says the New Democrat government’s new payment model to expand the number of family physicians has seen 708 more doctors registering to work in primary care, an increase of 16.5 per cent in a year.

Dix says there were about 5,000 family doctors working in family care in B.C. as of December.

He says the number of nurse practitioners in primary care also increased to 590, up more than 11 per cent in the year to December 2023.

But Dix acknowledges more than 880,000 people in B.C. are still without a family doctor, with the province facing a growing population including about 200,000 new residents last year.

He says up to 980,000 people in B.C. were without a family doctor three years ago.

"We have to continue to do the work," Dix said at a news conference. "So, it would be my expectation that there would be more doctors next year than this year. It’s a system where you’ve got to continue to add doctors."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 9, 2024.

The Canadian Press

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