On Sunday, Dec 5, CBC ran an online story about how nurse practitioners are “bridging the gap between family doctors and the ER”.

Like many of you, we are disappointed and disheartened by the biased nature of the article, which reinforces a false narrative about nurse practitioners (NPs) being “the same” as family physicians and conflates the flaws of fee-for-service remuneration with the practice patterns of family doctors.

Characterizing BC’s primary care crisis as an ‘us vs them’ issue that can be solved by hiring more NPs is overly-simplistic and detrimental to quality patient care. We value the contributions of our nurse practitioner colleagues. We believe that BC must embrace new ways of delivering care, including moving towards collaborative, team-based practices, where family physicians work with nurse practitioners and other health care professionals to provide patients with high-quality, well-coordinated care.

We also know that longitudinal relationships with family physicians lead to better overall health outcomes, higher patient satisfaction and reduced costs to the system. There is a role for both nurse practitioners and family physicians to play in our health care system and we must stay focused on the bigger issue of supporting quality, evidence-based care for British Columbians.

These are the messages that BCCFP will continue to bring forward in our ongoing conversations with government and through our public communications. Our 2021-2024 Strategic Plan establishes advocating for relationship-based, comprehensive, longitudinal family medicine as a key priority.

Though we are not the economic voice of family doctors in BC, we support the call for a shift towards blended remuneration to incentivize and support family physicians in delivering the full, comprehensive primary care they are trained to deliver.

Family physicians, NPs, patients – we all benefit from a well-supported primary care system where everyone is working to the full scope of their training and expertise. In the weeks ahead, we will be reaching out to our colleagues at BC Family Doctors and the Nurses and Nurse Practitioners of BC (NNPBC) to discuss our shared goals and how we can work together to address primary care in our province.

As family physicians providing longitudinal, full service family practice, your depth of training, knowledge and skills make you an irreplaceable resource in your community. Thank you for your commitment to looking after the health of British Columbians.

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