The BC College of Family Physicians (BCCFP) is becoming increasingly concerned by the growing number of Emergency Departments being forced to close due to a shortage of staff, including physicians.

With almost a million British Columbians without a family physician, health issues are left to worsen to the point of requiring emergency medical care – putting further strain on our already overwhelmed emergency departments.

Data shows that patients receiving care from family physicians leading interprofessional health care teams reported fewer emergency department visits (35% of patients) and hospital admissions (30% of patients).

The sustainability of a career in family medicine must be prioritized by those in power. BC is graduating more family medicine physicians than ever before, but because of the current conditions of work, many are steering away from comprehensive family practice. The LFP payment model was a significant development, but the existing cracks in the foundations are widening.

On July 10, 2023, each of the Elected Leaders of the Colleges of Family Physicians across Canada collectively wrote to the Premiers of each province to present the following actions that can address the crisis:

  1. Commit to Collaborative Action
  2. Fund Interprofessional Collaborative Teams (Team-Based Care)
  3. Invest in Fair Remuneration that Incentivizes Team-Based Practice and Complexity of Care
  4. Reduce Administrative Burden
  5. Implement Recruitment and Retention Strategies

Solutions exist. Without urgent action, emergency department closures will continue and the risk to both patients and health care professionals will increase.

Read the letter in full here.

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