We were disappointed to hear the comments by BC’s Health Minister Adrian Dix in the Debate on Budget Estimates on May 10, 2022. Minister Dix suggested nurse practitioners provide better primary care than family doctors and spend more time with patients. Such comments are disheartening and divisive.
BC’s primary care crisis will not be solved by fostering an “us vs them” culture. It will be solved by communication, collaboration and celebration of the hard-working family doctors who have been shouldering the responsibilities of caring for British Columbians in these difficult times.
BC Family Doctors values the contributions and skills of our nurse practitioner colleagues. Our roles and training, however, are fundamentally different. We recognize that team-based care is an integral part of the future of primary care, with doctors, nurse practitioners and other healthcare workers working together to support patient care. To realize this vision, all healthcare workers need to be supported to provide the essential healthcare needed by British Columbians.
Nurse practitioner clinics are provided infrastructure support and funding as well as a payment model that allows for more time with patients. Family medicine clinics are critical health infrastructure, fully funded and operated by family physicians. They need to be funded in a way that addresses the rising costs of operating clinics. We also need to improve BC’s fee-for-service system and introduce alternate payment models that better reflect the time required to provide longitudinal, comprehensive patient care.
Family doctors are the essential foundation of a high-functioning healthcare system. Our depth and breadth of training, skill set, and expertise make us an irreplaceable resource in our communities. We are specialists in primary care.
It’s time to address the supports and reforms necessary to ensure the sustainability of family medicine. It’s time for action and investment in family doctors.
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