'Critically understaffed': Primary care centres not much help to those without family doctors in Okanagan, Kamloops | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source
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'Critically understaffed': Primary care centres not much help to those without family doctors in Okanagan, Kamloops

Kamloops had the first Urgent and Primary Clinic in B.C. to open but only has 66% of full staffing levels.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/ Interior Health

Kelowna’s Urgent and Primary Care Centre is fully staffed but the clinic in Kamloops is at only 66% of its allocated staffing level, including no nurse practitioners when it’s approved for two.

That information comes from a B.C. Liberal Party news release about staffing levels for all such facilities in B.C., some of which have been operating now for almost four years. The Kamloops centre was the first in B.C. to open in July 2018.

READ MORE: Here's how Kamloops's new urgent primary care centre will work

The Interior Health and Fraser Health regions are tied for the highest staffing levels in the province but that’s only at 62% of where they should be.

Vancouver Island is the worst off, with only 39% of positions filled.

In all, 53% of health-care positions in the clinics are filled in B.C.’s Urgent and Primary Care Centres, meaning there are 961.39 full-time equivalent jobs in B.C. that are vacant.

“As one in five British Columbians remain unattached to a family doctor, documents from the Minister of Health show that the NDP government’s Urgent and Primary Care Centres (UPCCs) are critically understaffed and aren’t serving to connect the nearly one million unattached patients in desperate need of a family doctor,” the B.C. Liberal caucus news release states.

READ MORE: Kamloops woman among almost a million people in B.C. without a family doctor

“In South Okanagan-Similkameen’s Primary Care Network, there are seven nurse practitioners, but zero doctors out of the 6.4 approved full-time equivalent physicians,” the release says.

That care centre has 8.05 FTE nurse-practitioners approved but have only 7.3 working, along with no doctors. It is approved for 13.5 allied health workers but is at 48% of that amount at 6.5 full-time equivalents.

Kelowna, on the other hand, averages out to 100% of all positions filled in four classifications.

That includes 5.21 doctors, 2.61 nurse practitioners, 11.43 nurses and 5.9 allied health staff.

The nursing staff level in Kelowna is actually higher than the 9.9 budgeted for. Allied health positions are not all filled, which is why the clinic averages out to 100%.

In Kamloops, the 3.26 doctors working is 99% of the budget but there are no nurse practitioners, although 2.04 are budgeted for. Overall, Kamloops has 10.26 staff working in the clinic instead of the 15.47 budgeted for, which is 66%.

West Kelowna’s clinic is slightly worse off at 61% with about 12 of 20 positions filled. It is mostly short of allied health workers (44%) and nurses (69%). No pharmacist is on site although one is listed as being allocated.

Penticton is at 69% (7.5 of 11 positions) including no physicians out of the 1.05 allocated. It does have 173% of the nurse practitioner allocation with 1.82 instead of the 1.05 allocated.

Vernon fares better at 79% of all positions filled but only 58% of the 8.1 nursing positions are filled.

In these five health centres, about 20 of 90 positions are vacant.

iNFOnews.ca requested an interview with Health Minister Adrian Dix but he was not available by publication time.

See the full Primary Care Workforce Supplement data here.


To contact a reporter for this story, email Rob Munro or call 250-808-0143 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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