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Do you have a regular family doctor?

Poll: Family doctors in B.C.

A new two-year contract from the province offering a $25,000 bonus has yet to attract any new family medicine residents — 175 of whom graduated from the University of B.C. last week — to sign on as a family doctor in B.C.

Dr. Ana Boskovic, representing the UBC medical residents, and Dr. Romina Moradi, representing international residents, said in a phone interview that doctors don’t want to sign the contracts only to end up abandoning their patients two years from now if they find out the system in B.C. isn’t sustainable, or the clinic, location or type of contract wasn’t a good fit.

“If we’re going to be taking these contracts to provide longitudinal care and attach a patient panel and then there’s no solutions put into place to make family medicine sustainable, what happens to these patients?” Moradi asked.

“They’re going to go right back on that waiting list, and that’s completely heartbreaking.”

There are approximately one million — or one in five — people in B.C. without a family doctor.

Health Minister Adrian Dix had hoped to scoop up 175 new grads by offering a two-year “new to practice” deal valued at $295,457, with a $25,000 signing bonus that expires on Sept. 30 and about $130,000 over five years in medical-training debt-forgiveness.

The new doctors are expected to take on about 1,250 patients over two years and to share in overhead costs for the clinic in which they work.

Boskovic said being given a three-month time limit is “very stressful.” Typically, a newly graduated medical resident might work as a locum — filling in for vacationing doctors or assisting in a variety of clinics and communities — to get a feel for where and how they want to practise long term and what type of payment scheme best suits them.

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