A VERY VALUABLESERVICE *** To date, one important voice – that of walk-in clinics – has been little-heard in public-policy discussions regarding health care. Walk-in clinics play a vital role in our country’s health system. Over the last decade, according to numerous surveys by Statistics Canada, three-in-every five respondents who did not have a regular physician, said they had accessed a walk-in clinic when in need of medical care. If those numbers hold true for our province, it would mean that as many as 494,000 British Columbians attend a walk-in clinic at least once annually. CHART 02 - Percentage of Canadians Without a Regular Doctor who use a Walk-In Clinic, 2008-2014 80.00% 70.00% 60.00% 50.00% 40.00% 30.00% 20.00% (Source: Statistics Canada, Access to a regular medical doctor, various years.) In the summer of 2015, a number of walk-in clinic owners, physicians and supporters took action and founded the Walk-In Clinics of B.C. Association. Walk-In Clinics of B.C. intends to make a positive contribution to public-policy discussions on health-care, its' costs, delivery and efficacy. Our aim is to be problem ‘solvers’, to try to bring to the public arena a fresh perspective and some new – perhaps innovative – ideas about health-care. This report, presented to the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services in Victoria on September 21, marks an inaugural effort by Walk-In Clinics of B.C. to participate in, and make constructive proposals. We offer three recommendations for consideration by the Select Standing Committee: First, at present, the Medical Services Plan caps the number of patients a physician may see each day at 50. This hard cap seems unnecessarily restrictive in an age when many British Columbians – including physicians and others employed in the health-sector – want a measure of flexibility at the work-place. We believe that the current MSP cap should be modified to provide better access for patients – and an improved work-environment for physicians. Second, British Columbia's population is aging - and so too is our physician population. The number of doctors aged 65 and over continuing to practice is now over 2,000, and they are a vital component of our health-care system. We believe that regulatory and other impediments to older physicians continuing to practice should be modified. Third, nurse practitioners are highly-skilled and much-valued, and play an important role in reducing dependence on emergency rooms and hospital beds. We believe that nurse practitioners could play an expanded role in British Columbia’s health-care system, especially working in walk-in clinics across the province. *** British Columbians treasure our province’s health-care system. Walk-In Clinics of B.C. is dedicated to playing a responsible and constructive role in public discussions on health-care in British Columbia. 2 WALK-IN CLINICS OF B.C.
A VERY VALUABLESERVICE TABLE OF CONTENTS Introduction 1 Health expenditures in British Columbia 4 The Medical Services Plan 5 MSP physicians 6 British Columbians without a regular medical doctor 8 The MSP daily cap on physician services 9 B.C.'s aging physicians 10 Nurse practitioners 11 Conclusion 13 RECOMMENDATIONS 14 WALK-IN CLINICS OF B.C. 3