Our clinics need more support to be able to continue providing care, says this letter-writer who’s a family doctor living in North Vancouver.
I am a family doctor practising in North Vancouver. I am worried about the patients in our community because just this week, I paid $36 to my local shoe repair shop to put glue on a five-centimetre area of the sole of my shoe, money the owner deserves, God bless him, and the same amount of money the government pays a family doctor to manage as many complex problems as the patient needs to squeeze into one family practice visit.
After that, 40 per cent of that amount stays with the clinic for overhead, so the family doctor takes home about $22 in pre-tax dollars, often then sitting at a computer in the evening to finish notes, referrals, review labs, imaging, call pharmacists, etc.
Family doctors are more than just health-care providers – we are small business owners who run our clinics. And our clinics need more support to be able to continue providing care, including appropriate funding for staff salaries, lease costs, and supplies. We also need to modernize how we fund and operate clinics, so that family doctors can spend more time with patients.
The growing amount of documentation for family doctors is taking us away from providing patient care. We need to create healthy working conditions for family doctors, including reducing administrative burdens and providing substitute/locum physicians for when we are away. Supporting family doctors will result in healthier patients and communities.
Almost 900,000 British Columbians do not have a family doctor – and that number is growing every day. I myself do not have a family doctor. We need action to ensure that British Columbians can receive the care that they need and deserve. Everyone deserves a family doctor.
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