Estimated 10% of Thompson-Okanagan residents on waiting lists for family doctors | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source
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Estimated 10% of Thompson-Okanagan residents on waiting lists for family doctors

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No one knows just how many people in B.C. don’t have a family doctor, but that’s changing.

B.C.’s Ministry of Health created a Health Connect Registry about two years ago for people wanting a doctor but not all communities or regions have signed on.

To date, five communities in the Interior Health region have joined the registry.

That includes the Thompson-Nicola region where 17,534 people were on the waitlist as of Jan. 31, according to an email to iNFOnews.ca from the Ministry of Health.

The South Okanagan-Similkameen region had 8,293 people on its list at that same time.

There is a different registration system currently in the Central Okanagan, through the B.C. College of Family Physicians.

It says there are 20,000 people on that waiting list.

That’s about 10% of the combined population of those three regions.

The North Okanagan-Shuswap is not on either registry yet.

In all, there are close to 600,000 people living in the Thompson, Shuswap, Okanagan and Similkameen regions so there could be 60,000 on waitlists and more who have not registered.

“Once launched across B.C., the Health Connect Registry will provide accurate information about the number of British Columbians seeking attachment – an accuracy we do not have today with survey or census data,” the email says. “In turn, this information will help the province determine the capacity available or required across the primary care system to ensure everyone interested in being attached to a family doctor or nurse practitioner receives attachment.”

The province is trying to recruit more family doctors, including through a new payment system that kicked in this week.

Called the Longitudinal Family Physician payment model, it will pay family doctors about $385,000 a year, initially.

As of Jan. 20, only 942 of B.C.’s 7,229 family physicians had registered for the plan.

There are 14,269 doctors in B.C., an increase of almost 2,300 since 2019, the email said. Those numbers are based on information provided to the Ministry by the College of Physicians and Surgeons.

In the provincial system, for the most part, it’s first come, first served for those registering for a family doctor. The Central Okanagan system does triage applicants according to need.

For the Central Okanagan registry, go here.

For the provincial registries, go here.

READ MORE: Why thousands of Thompson-Okanagan residents can’t find a family doctor


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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