VANCOUVER (August 11, 2022) – Following four weeks of silence and inaction from the NDP after the BC Liberal Caucus put forward a detailed 30-day action plan to help tackle the primary care crisis and improve the retention of physicians, the BC Liberals have announced further solutions including new initiatives for internationally-trained doctors.
“Our BC Liberal Caucus continues to join doctors, nurses, and other healthcare workers in pressing the NDP to take real action to solve our healthcare crisis, but this NDP government continues to blame others and respond with rhetoric rather than action. There is no sense of urgency with this government to address the primary care crisis, particularly given the NDP’s current approach has demonstrably failed,” said BC Liberal Leader Kevin Falcon. “We put forward a detailed 30-day action plan, with solutions informed by healthcare professionals on the frontlines of this crisis, and it has been completely ignored by Adrian Dix and the NDP. Today we’re submitting further solutions to address the primary care crisis and again calling on the NDP to act. These solutions include removing barriers for internationally-trained doctors and nurses and immediately fast-tracking the certification of international medical graduates, many of who are Canadians that have pursued their studies abroad and are eager to work in Canada.”
Building upon the BC Liberals’ 30-day action plan, the new health care policy unveiled today would:
- Expand doctor training spaces at the University of British Columbia (UBC) Medical School from 288 to 400 where, currently, there have been zero seats added under the two-term NDP government;
- Fulfill the NDP’s broken promise to create a second medical school at Simon Fraser University (SFU);
- Drastically increase the number of residencies available for international medical graduates (IMGs) from 56 to 150 with the goal of continued expansion;
- Reduce barriers for internationally-trained physicians who have passed the initial Medical Council of Canada Qualifying Exam (MCCQE);
- Expand the capacity of the Practice-Ready Assessment (PRA-BC) program for internationally-trained doctors;
- Support more collaborative team-based care; and
- Consult with physicians, pharmacists, and stakeholders on expanding the scope of practice for pharmacists and allow them to assess and prescribe medications for minor ailments within a team-based care model.
The PRA-BC program expansion would include consultation and partnerships with the College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC, Doctors of BC, College of Family Physicians of Canada, the UBC Faculty of Medicine’s Division of Continuing Professional Development Unit, health authorities, and other stakeholders.
“One out of every five British Columbians does not have a family doctor and that strains every other part of our healthcare system. The top items in the NDP Minister of Health’s mandate letter include the implementation of a health human resource strategy and the launch of a second medical school to expand our healthcare workforce. Neither has been achieved by the NDP during their half-decade in power in B.C.,” added BC Liberal Health Critic Shirley Bond. “As this crisis worsens, this NDP government continues to blame others instead of taking steps to fix the problems facing our province. We have to implement solutions to the immediate crisis to help relieve existing pressures, as well as expand doctor training spaces to address issues like the impending wave of physician retirements. The crisis requires a system-wide approach.”
“Healthcare workers are struggling in an overwhelmed and understaffed health care system, all while feeling increasingly neglected by an NDP government that refuses to acknowledge their concerns,” concluded Falcon. “We need leadership that can deliver a coherent plan to address the healthcare crisis. These steps would begin responding to a system the current Premier correctly described as ‘crumbling.’ We are talking about people’s health, their lives, and wellbeing. The time for action is long overdue.”