Canadians Still Struggling to Find a Family Doctor

ministry of health - Family Doctor

The Plan for Family Doctor’s

In 2010 the BC Ministry of Health set out to provide every British Columbian who wants a family doctor with one by 2015.

Aside from extending access to family doctors; this plan aims to provide better care for patients with chronic diseases, seniors and those with complex health needs.

“Ensuring that British Columbians have access to their own family doctor – a health professional who is familiar with their medical history – can drastically improve health outcomes for patients and in doing so, can help ensure the sustainability of our health system. This shift will change the patient’s journey through the health system and streamline care so patients receive consistent and appropriate care through their family doctor over a lifetime” – Kevin Falcon, Health Services Minister.

Read the original 2010 news release.

Where Are We Now?

Fast-forward two years and it looks as though the BC Ministry of Health is still struggling to connect citizens to family doctors.

A recent Statistics Canada report shows little to no change in the accessibility of a regular family doctor since 2010. In fact, access to a family doctor is at the lowest point in almost a decade.

access to family doctor

With only three years left to achieve their goal, the Ministry of Health must continue to push integrated primary health systems throughout British Columbia.

Where’s The Change?

B.C.’s move to a more integrated primary and community health care system began in stages with some communities and regions across the province in 2010-11.

With this approach changes will happen slowly as the plan is fully rolled-out to communities around the province.

By March 2011, integration had begun in 40 communities and regions of the province and, by 2015, the program will be available in more than 160 B.C. communities, covering the entire province.

doctor patient - Family Doctor

Where Are We Going?

Shifting to primary health-care is part of the innovation and change agenda to improve patient care while managing growing health care costs and ensuring long-term sustainability.

At Iridia, we have seen this shift first hand and the Ministry of Health plan in action.

Our involvement at the Jim Pattison Outpatient Care and Surgery Centre has shown us one such program, the Primary Care Clinic.

The Primary Care Clinic helps patients who are discharged from Surrey Memorial but don’t have a family doctor to get follow-up care.

So far, more than 3,300 patients have been connected with a primary care provider; a staggering number for a program/facility that opened its doors in 2011.

Bottom line – as the Ministry of Health plan expands, we can expect to see more individuals throughout the province connected with family doctors.