August 09, 2022

An urban locum coverage pilot program is starting in fall 2022 to support family doctors in receiving much needed practice coverage for up to 10 days per year.

It is intended to help address one of the top challenges facing family doctors: finding locum coverage to maintain continuity of care during leaves, which was consistently raised as a top priority in Doctors of BC’s recent engagement sessions. It is hoped that such a program can also help address the need to recruit and retain family doctors in community longitudinal practice.

Funded by the BC Ministry of Health with administrative support provided by the GPSC, the pilot will be delivered in the Victoria and South Island Primary Care Networks (PCNs) and will be implemented by the Victoria Division of Family Practice. It will run from October 1, 2022 to June 30, 2024 and it will be evaluated regularly during the trial. It is the expectation of Doctors of BC that that this pilot will provide the opportunity for learnings that could be spread across the province. The long-term goal is to work together, including with the rural locum program, for a province-wide locum program that would take into account the needs of the various communities. 

This initiative builds on similar efforts by the Divisions of Family Practice and ideas brought forward from both the provincial and regional Recruitment & Retention Committees. The Joint Standing Committee on Rural Issues, which is responsible for the governance of Locums for Rural BC, was consulted in the development of the pilot.

Benefits for host family physicians:

  • Coverage for patients for up to ten days per year, which can be taken consecutively or separately
  • Support for physician health and wellness
  • Administrative support for matching to locums and scheduling practice coverage
  • Payment of infrastructure costs while away
  • Over time, a pool of potential recruits who have experienced your clinic and community

Benefits for locums:

  • A potential new career pathway for family medicine residents considering longitudinal practice
  • Mentorship support for new-to-practice physicians
  • An opportunity for end-of-career physicians who want to work a few more years but don’t want to carry their own panels
  • An option for hospitalists and other family medicine-trained physicians working in focused practice who are looking to maintain their longitudinal experience
  • A flexible contract to work last minute or short term (between 1-24 months)
  • Administrative support to coordinate placements with physicians/clinics and for scheduling
  • Experience with different practice types
  • Flexibility to coordinate urban locum placements with other practice settings.

Click here for more information about the pilot.