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Only half of medical staff promised hired at Richmond clinics

Thirty-two doctors were promised for Richmond three years ago to help alleviate the GP shortage - 3.5 have been hired.

A few more doctors have been hired for the Richmond Primary Care Network (PCN), but just half of the medical personnel, promised three years ago, are practicing.

The Richmond News recently reported that, as of April, only one doctor out of 32 announced three years for the PCN had been hired.

The province, however, confirmed that 3.5 full-time doctors are now on board.

The PCN has also been able to double the number of nurse-practioners from four in April to eight.

Given the lack of family doctors, the province has set up primary care networks, a system meant to supplement the health-care system in Richmond and other communities, with an emphasis on team-based care.

Many of these health-care workers are based at the newly opened Urgent and Primary Care Clinic (UPCC) on No. 3 Road.

While the hours have been extended for the UPCC since it moved into its permanent location in April, there are still often four- to five-hour waits to see a doctor.

Some nurse-practioners entering the system through the PCN, however, work out of private doctor’s offices and take on their own patient load.

In addition to more doctors and nurse-practioners, the province said they have five full-time registered nurses, three pharmacists and 19 other “allied health providers” currently hired to the PCN.

There are now 38.5 full-time health-care workers out of a total of 77 promised for the Richmond Primary Care Network, while in April there were only 32.