The year 2022 is certainly shaping up to be one of significant change—in many ways made possible by the passion shown by yourselves and the public.
Sitting at the collaborative table for improvements to primary care, we have never seen such an opportunity to rapidly move things forward: with the current crisis in family practice and the public rallying behind family doctors, Doctors of BC and the Ministry have embarked on major changes (not just small tweaks). Like during COVID, there is broad recognition that how longitudinal practice is supported needs to be reconsidered. All our medical leadership organizations are focused on addressing the issues facing primary care, in a concerted fashion—and that includes the GPSC.
As you are no doubt aware, as a key component of the stabilization funding coming in October, we brought the 2023 GPSC CLFP payment forward to October 2022 and redirected additional funds from the GPSC budget to augment this payment. The need for rapid stabilization was something heard loud and clear during this summer’s engagement sessions. In May, both the Ministry and Doctors of BC agreed that while they work on the longer-term compensation aspects of improving family practice, GPSC is where the broader conversations need to occur around primary care. Those conversations are weighty, including effective PCN governance, how to ensure GPSC resources support current and future practice needs, and identifying the system changes that need to occur. With the goal of fully-realizing the patient medical home (PMH) across BC, governance of the PCN (primary care network) needs to evolve. Discussions began mid-September with the divisions of family practice and PCN physician leads: we hope to have a high-level plan announced to you this fall.
In our newsletters, you will learn more about some of the important elements required to support family physicians—including two asks that were consistent across all of the engagement sessions:
- a practice coverage program pilot that launched in October, something we hope will quickly expand to additional pilot communities and then across the province. This will support family doctors to take up to two weeks of time off each year, with their overhead covered by the program. You can read more about this program in this edition of the newsletter.
- an after hours care coverage program pilot, in collaboration with HealthLink BC and supported by the College of Physicians and surgeons of BC. This will begin in three or four communities, with rapid expansion assuming the pilot proves successful. More details will be shared in the coming months.
- You will learn about $1-million we are providing to PCN communities to undertake planning how to better integrate maternity care into team-based practices;
- Many of you ask us to explain how the GPSC funding is utilized—we have included an item that shows you where those expenditures are directed;
- Stories on the remarkable and innovative work of some of our divisions of family practice.
For many, the start of fall feels like the beginning of a new year. As summer winds down, we expect announcements regarding real and definitive supports for the profession and your patients. As we continue with our advocacy, the GPSC will support the changes that need to occur. We want to continue to hear from you, our peers, especially as we roll out all of the aspects of primary care transformation during this time of change.
Your GPSC Physician Caucus
Dr Sari Cooper, Co-Chair.
Dr Jaron Easterbrook, Caucus rep for physicians in Northern BC.
Dr Janet Evans, new member.
Dr Mitch Fagan, Caucus rep for physicians in Fraser.
Dr Tracy Monk, Caucus rep for physicians in Vancouver Coastal.
Dr Baldev Sanghera, Caucus rep for physicians in the Interior.