VICTORIA (July 25, 2022) – As staffing shortages and capacity issues continue at Urgent and Primary Care Centres (UPCCs) across the province, the BC Liberals are calling on the NDP to launch an independent comprehensive audit to investigate and address the ongoing and worsening dysfunction at these care centres.
“It’s been years since the NDP started opening UPCCs throughout B.C., and despite all the government’s fanfare, they have still not delivered the results that were promised to British Columbians,” said Shirley Bond, BC Liberal Critic for Health. “Over and over again we see that UPCCs can’t keep staff, are falling short of their goals to attach patients, and are too often at capacity only a few hours after opening. It is time for the NDP to acknowledge these shortcomings and organize a comprehensive audit to investigate exactly what is going wrong and determine what changes need to be made to begin meeting the basic health care needs of British Columbians.”
Urgent and primary care centres across B.C. are dealing with significant staffing shortages. Abbotsford’s UPCC has only 53 per cent of the staff it is budgeted for, the James Bay UPCC has only 43 per cent of budgeted staff, all five doctors at the Chilliwack Primary Care Centre are set to leave their roles by mid-September, and the only doctor at Quesnel’s UPCC has recently given their notice. When Manitoba performed an audit of their health care system in 2017, they found that government-run QuickCare Clinics — their equivalent to UPCCs — contributed to “inconsistency in the continuum of care.” Manitoba’s QuickCare Clinics also faced staffing shortages and failed to have any noticeable positive impact on ER wait times.
“We’ve seen the clear example in Manitoba that government-run UPCCs, in addition to being difficult to staff, don’t necessarily deliver the best possible care to patients or provide relief to other parts of the health care system,” added Bond. “As the health care crisis continues to worsen in B.C., we need to do a full audit of our UPCCs and determine what steps need to be taken to truly address the serious challenges we are facing. We must ensure that investments are made in the areas that deliver the best possible care for patients and work to restore confidence in our health care system.”