Hundreds of family doctors from across BC shared their ideas about the future of primary care as part of the FPSC’s visioning engagement process between July and September 30, 2015. This was a province-wide opportunity for every family doctor to contribute their thoughts about how they want to practice and care for their patients in the future.

Consultations with family doctors were the foundation of this process. All interested BC family physicians had the opportunity to identify important topics related to family practice, listen to the views of other family doctors, express their views, and have open discussions. Family physicians were invited to participate in any of the 26 in-person meetings co-hosted by local divisions of family practice and the Visioning Steering Committee and/or by joining online conversations.

The FPSC contracted a company called Thoughtexchange to provide and manage the online tool that was used in the initial stage of the online engagement process.

In addition to the Thought exchange conversations and in-person meetings, the members of the VSC initiated Digital Dialogue discussions on the important topics that they identified. These included:

  • Recruitment and Retention: How can each of us help?
  • After hours care: What is it and who should provide it?
  • Must we be self-employed?
  • Is family practice maternity care sustainable?
  • Administrative overload: What Is the Answer?
  • Is how we practice a barrier to full service FP?
  • High functioning primary care needs team based care: Why are we holding back?
  • Is the care we provide influenced by how we’re paid: What’s the right funding model?
  • Can a walk-in clinic be your family doctor?
  • What is the family physician’s role in hospital care?
  • Primary care in urban and rural settings

All the feedback from family physicians has been captured in the Visioning Engagement Report, which is posted in the password-protected section of the Doctors of BC website. The report summarizes family doctors’ comments about the realities they face in practice, including what works well, what does not, and what changes they would like to see.  Topic areas include the vision of primary care in the future, scope of primary care services, practice and payment models, the role of the family doctor in team-based care, and physician health and wellness.

What’s next?  The FPSC is in the final stages of an extensive strategic development process based on what family doctors said, the work of divisions on the ground in their communities, and the strategic priorities of the FPSC’s partners and other Joint Clinical Committees.

This process will result in a family doctor-led vision of the future of primary care in BC that will drive the work of the FPSC for the foreseeable future.  When the FPSC’s vision and strategic direction are complete they will be shared with physicians and local divisions of family practice. Together, we can then discuss how this will impact the way doctors practice in the future, any issues, and work collaboratively on building the future of primary care in BC.