Shortly before the 2013 provincial election campaign began, BC Liberals announced a new program that was to be funded with over $100 million:
GP For Me, February 22, 2013
The Province has announced new incentives and supports to work towards ensuring every family that wants a family physician, can have one by 2015…
It is now 2015 and the objective has not been achieved. But, that surprises no one involved in delivering medical care to British Columbia residents. The announcement was a pre-election ploy by the BC Liberal Party. Two years later, the shortage of family physicians continues and surveys of doctors demonstrate that because of retirements, it is growing worse.
Saanich family doctor can’t give away his practice, Cindy E. Harnett, Times Colonist, September 27, 2014
A Saanich family physician says his inability to give away, nevermind sell, his family practice is an indication of a system broken beyond repair.
Dr. Chris Pengilly, 68, says his futile attempt to find someone to take over his practice exemplifies the shortage of physicians and the challenges posed by a generation of doctors who don’t want the responsibility of owning a family practice.
“I have advertised literally all over the world,” Pengilly said. “I have had not one positive response.“Not one of this year’s graduates coming out of medical schools and family practice residencies is interested in pursuing full-service family practice…”
The GP for Me program rations opportunities for people to be attached to doctors in general practice. Through financial incentives paid to doctors, high-needs patients gain attachment priority. As a result, for a person with less complex medical needs, the chance to engage a family doctor is reduced.
Beyond the paperwork burden imposed on doctors, another problem is that too little money committed by government reaches practising physicians. A significant portion is absorbed by bureaucrats, public relations officers, advertising agencies and quasi-autonomous non-governmental organisations. (Those last mentioned are known in Britain as Quangos and they are infamous for patronage and bureaucratic excess. They are now common in British Columbia.)