B.C.’s urgent and primary care centers unable to solve the family doctor crisis, critics say

Representative image of primary care centre. Facebook Page

Vancouver/CMEDIA: Critics say urgent and primary care centers (UPCCs), are unable to solve the family doctor crisis in British Columbia.

First introduced in 2018, UPCCs were designed to serve residents of a community, where they were supposed to get team-based care from a physician, nurse practitioners, nurses, and other health professionals.

However, data reportedly received by the opposition B.C. Liberals on request from B.C.’s Ministry of Health revealed in the legislature last week that staffing at most of B.C.’s 26 UPCCs is far below approved levels, and only around 20,000 patients are “attached” to the clinics.

Camille Currie, founder and organizer of advocacy group B.C. Health Care Matters says UPCCs are often booked up as soon as they open, and that she has seen long lineups in the morning outside her local center on Vancouver Island.

Currie added that with nearly a million British Columbians without a family doctor, the crisis had a downstream effect on the rest of the province’s healthcare system, adding that UPCCs have not been able to keep up the job promised to the government.

According to ministry data revealed last week, Vancouver Island just over six full-time-equivalent physicians at the Downtown Victoria UPCC, despite over 22 being approved for the center is particularly badly affected by a lack of staff at UPCCs and primary care facilities. There are also no nurse practitioners at the facility, despite being budgeted to have two.

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