The BC Health Care Matters group held a rally in front of the Ministry of Health building in Victoria on Wednesday, calling for action on the family doctor shortage.
Camille Currie, the group’s founder, says the decision was made to hold the rally after the ministry did not respond to their efforts to talk.
“Today we are here because the Ministry of Health has refused to respond to any communication to them, refused to meet with us, and so we brought our message right to them,” Currie told CHEK News.
Currie says the group wants to see the government take action to address the shortage.
“Our message is very clear, every person in this province needs access to a family doctor because that is the foundation of our health care system,” Currie said. “We will continue to see other levels of our healthcare system crumble if they don’t address this.”
Dr. Bridget Reidy, a spokesperson for B.C. Family Doctors for Patient Care, says she attended the protest because she feels the BC Health Care Matters group understands the issues facing family doctors.
“We don’t see any understanding from the Ministry of Health,” Reidy said. “I’m hoping they’ll come up with a reasonable way to keep us from resigning.”
“There are 40 per cent of British Columbians afraid of losing their family doctor. There are many family doctors every day thinking of quitting, and it is because we’re working so hard, we get more and more work put on us every year, and less and less in terms of inflationary pay increases.”
Nearly one-million British Columbians do not have access to a family doctor, according to the B.C. College of Physicians in Surgeons. The 2021 census shows the population of B.C. is just over five million.
The province also sees some of the longest walk-in clinic wait times in the country, with Victoria experiencing the longest waits in the country at more than two-and-a-half hours, according to Medimap.