VANCOUVER - British Columbia's health minister says more than 1,000 family doctors have so far signed onto the province's new compensation model that takes effect today as part of a plan to address the crisis in the primary health-care system.
Adrian Dix says that number reflects doctors who signed up in advance or within hours of its launch, and he expects it to grow "dramatically."
He says the model, developed by the province and Doctors of BC, aims to attract doctors to family practice and keep them there by addressing challenges that arise in the existing fee-for-service system.
Dix says that system has forced family physicians to become businesspeople, which is especially unappealing to many younger doctors.
The president of Doctors of BC, which represents 14,000 physicians, residents and medical students, says the"transformational"change is a building block for the renewal of a primary care system that has eroded over time.
Dr. Joshua Greggain says the new option that raises the salary of a full-time family doctor to about $385,000 per year, up from $250,000, will mean patients get the time they need with their doctor, "creating space for authentic connection and time-based care."
"This ultimately is an investment that serves the patients of British Columbia, by investing in family physicians and primary care," he told a news conference.
"This actually creates hope that hasn't been there for some time."
The new model introduced in October was negotiated alongside a broader agreement that received the support of 92 per cent of doctors, Greggain said.
Dix said the model won't improve primary care overnight.
"But it shows our joint determination to make things better and to ensure people have the care in the community, the timely care they need to stay healthy."