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NDP documents reveal B.C.’s primary care centres chronically understaffed

NDP documents reveal B.C.’s primary care centres chronically understaffed

VICTORIA (May 19, 2022) – As one in five British Columbians remain unattached to a family doctor, documents from the Minister of Health show that the NDP government’s Urgent and Primary Care Centres (UPCCs) are critically understaffed and aren’t serving to connect the nearly one million unattached patients in desperate need of a family doctor.

“For months, the Minister of Health has been dodging questions about the lack of family doctors in B.C. repeatedly pointing to UPCCs as a potential solution to the crisis,” said Shirley Bond, BC Liberal Critic for Health. “Now we see the NDP’s UPCCs and Primary Care Networks (PCNs) are horrendously understaffed and failing to address the needs of British Columbians without a family doctor. Richmond’s PCN has been running for three years, and it is supposed to have 32 full-time equivalent physicians but, today, has just one doctor. In Abbotsford, their UPCC has only half a doctor when there are supposed to be six. It’s no wonder that less than two per cent of the million people without a family doctor have found any attachment through UPCCs.”

Across the province, UPCCs and PCNs are staffed at a fraction of what they should be.

  • In the North Shore Primary Care Network, there are supposed to be 17.5 full-time equivalent physicians — there are just three.
  • In South Okanagan Similkameen’s Primary Care Network, there are seven nurse practitioners, but zero doctors out of the 6.4 approved full-time equivalent physicians.
  • In the White Rock and South Surrey Primary Care Network, there are only 33 per cent of the doctors there are supposed to be.

“With each day that passes, the crisis in our health care system deepens,” added Bond. “Nearly a million people do not have a family doctor to provide them with vital longitudinal care, our hospitals are over capacity, and now we see that even the NDP’s UPCCs and PCNs — which they have tried to sell as a solution — are chronically understaffed. And instead of making much-needed investments in health care, this NDP government has decided to prioritize a billion-dollar vanity museum project in Victoria. At the end of the day, the people of B.C. are not getting the care they need — and that is unacceptable.”

Attachments:

  1. Letter to MLA Bond from Minister Dix, May 11, 2022
  2. Primary Care Workforce Supplement, Updated April 26, 2022

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