An Air of Hope for Family Medicine
Celebrating BC Family Doctor Day 2023


VANCOUVER (May 19, 2023) – BC Family Doctor Day, as proclaimed by the government for the sixth year running, happens annually on May 19 and provides an opportunity to recognize the incredible efforts of family physicians practising across BC.

Family physicians are the foundation of BC’s health care system, handling the majority of health issues that patients face over their lifetime. In research conducted by the BC College of Family Physicians (BCCFP) last year, 80% of BC residents see a family physician regularly and 90% of these say family physicians play an important role in their overall health.

The same study found that the characteristics of family physicians that are most valued by patients are “caring”, “empathetic” and “the ability to listen”. Patients also value the family physician’s “knowledge and accuracy of judgement”, as well as the long-term relationship they have built with their physician and the continuity of care this provides.

The value placed on family medicine was further evidenced through the experiences shared by British Columbians when nominating their family physicians for the BCCFP My Family Doctor Award. Each year, five family physicians receive the patient-nominated award which celebrates the doctor-patient relationship that supports good health.

This year, over 400 people took the time to detail the positive impact their family doctor has on their lives. A patient of Dr. Anna Mason, a My Family Doctor Award recipient from Victoria, shared that “[Dr. Mason] believed in me and saw the potential I still had to recover and make positive changes in my life when it felt like I had no hope left. If it was not for Dr. Mason I would likely not be graduating this spring.”

The other four recipients of this year’s My Family Doctor Award are: Dr. Ingrid Cosio (Prince George), Dr. Paul Graham (Chilliwack), Dr. Sheldon Howard (Vancouver) and Dr. Ella Monro (Princeton).

This BC Family Doctor Day comes at a time when primary care is still in a state of crisis. “It’s currently very difficult for people to find a family physician who is accepting new patients in BC and we’re having to turn down daily requests, which generally goes against our character,” shares family physician and President of the BC College of Family Physicians Dr. Justine Spencer, “We want patients to have access to ongoing care, but without more support, we’ll have to continue turning patients away.”

It’s exactly one year on from the BCCFP’s ‘Day at the Legislature’ in Victoria to highlight the primary care crisis and the need for action.  Over 100 people gathered for conversations and advocacy with 40 MLAs, including the Minister of Health, Adrian Dix.  Central to every conversation that took place was the urgent need to transform the system, and the ask that solutions be informed by the expertise and experience of family physicians across the province.

“We’re optimistic that our collective advocacy efforts are being recognized and that the Longitudinal Family Physician (LFP) payment model introduced in February will provide more equitable remuneration for family physicians and better recognition of the value of longitudinal, relationship-based care.”

“I’m also heartened by the continued interest in family medicine shown by medical students,” says Dr. Spencer, “with BC matching 186 family medicine resident doctors to all 20 training sites across the province for the tenth year running.”

“But we know improved remuneration alone is not enough to transform the primary care system. Family physicians need to be supported by interprofessional, collaborative teams and to experience a significant reduction in the burden caused by administrative work.”

“We’re remaining hopeful for the future and continuing our advocacy work to create a more sustainable career for family physicians and provide all British Columbians with access to high-quality, culturally safe care.”

About the 2023 BCCFP Award Recipients:

My Family Doctor Award (patient-nominated):
Dr. Ingrid Cosio – Prince George
Dr. Paul Graham – Chilliwack
Dr. Sheldon Howard – Vancouver
Dr. Anna Mason – Victoria
Dr. Ella Monro – Princeton

Peer-nominated: BC Family Physician of the Year – Dr. Jennifer Lush (Victoria) and First Five Years of Practice Award – Dr. Bradley Little (Vancouver)

BCCFP members also recognized exceptional family medicine residents in the following categories:

• R2 Resident Award: Dr. Rachel Cook (Kamloops), Dr. Robin Craven (Surrey South Fraser) and Dr. Cassia Tremblay (Kootenay Boundary)
• Dr. Manoo and Jean Gurjar Award: Dr. Arielle Roberts (Campbell River) and Dr. Nique Seper (Vancouver Island)

Read more about our award recipients here.

About the BC College of Family Physicians:
The BCCFP is a not-for-profit organization that supports family physicians and advocates for the future of family medicine. We are the home of family medicine in BC, providing leadership, support, advocacy and education for more than 7,000 members from across the province. The BCCFP celebrates the specialty of family medicine and the excellence in patient care family doctors provide. Our members include family physicians, family medicine residents, and medical students interested in pursuing a career in family medicine.

For more information, or to arrange an interview with BCCFP President Dr. Justine Spencer or any of the award recipients, please contact:
Erin Murtagh, BCCFP Communications Manager | 604-802-0981

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