Some BC medical students reluctant to become family physicians, citing workload and fee-for-service model
British Columbia medical students are rethinking their career paths as they approach graduation amid a critical shortage of long-term care physicians in the province.
Nearly one million British Columbians do not have a family doctor.
Although the University of British Columbia has the largest family medicine program in the country, with about 170 seats that are constantly filled by future doctors, this does not translate into more family doctors in Colombia. -British. Some medical students are worried about having to run a business in addition to caring for patients, and say the financial viability of the fee-for-service model doesn’t make sense.
Jordyn Heal, 23, is about to start her third year of medical school at UBC and says that although she is passionate about family medicine, her mentors are advising her to rethink it.
She said the fee-for-service model was not “workable” when it came to making ends meet.
“I have to think about myself in the practicalities of being able to fund my own future,” she said.
“I feel a little guilty about it because I didn’t go into medicine for the money. I went there…to take care of patients.”
The first edition8:39Medical students say choosing family medicine in BC comes at the expense of their future and safety
Most family physicians in British Columbia are paid around $30 per patient visit, whether they are treating a cold or a complex chronic condition.
Physicians run their practice like a business, paying overhead costs like staff and premises at an average rate of around $60 per hour or more.
Ivy Deavy, 34, entered medical school at 32, with plans to become a family doctor. Although she still intends to go this route, she says she’s not as excited as she used to be.
“New grads and students like me wonder why opt for longitudinal care when it’s not financially viable, when there’s so much burnout, when the workload is overwhelming?” she said The first edition host Stephen Quinn.
She often hears about family physicians leaving their practice to work in telehealth, retiring early, or simply getting carried away because the workload is too heavy and they can’t afford to stay afloat.
“It’s incredibly discouraging.”
Deavy says the thought of having to run a business in addition to providing patient care is “incredibly daunting.”
“We don’t get any training on it,” she said.
“I get tons of training on identifying different diseases, drug training, communication training. I don’t get any business training. That’s not what I specialize in. It’s not is not what I want to do.”
Deavy says people looking to practice family medicine but don’t want to deal with the business side of things have other options: they can work in hospitals, specialize in palliative care, or find salaried positions in youth or sexual health clinics.
If the current business model for longitudinal care — family doctors providing long-term care — doesn’t change, Deavy says she’ll consider these other options.
The first edition11:37Health Minister says fee-for-service model not attractive to new doctors
Health Minister Adrian Dix said he recognizes that young doctors do not like the current family doctor business model.
“We need to do a better job recruiting new family medicine doctors,” Dix said.
When speaking with CBC last week, Dix said he would meet with Doctors of BC, an association that defends doctors, to discuss short- and long-term measures to ensure British Columbians have access to family physicians.
For now, he points to urgent primary care centers and primary care networks, though critics say these models don’t solve the problem because they also remain understaffed and overused.