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Only one doctor hired in Richmond despite 32 promised

Documents released by the ministry of health show 32 out of 77 health-care workers have been hired in Richmond while residents struggle to access medical care.

Ministry of health documents show that, as of March, only one doctor had been hired into the Richmond Primary Care Network (PCN) out of 32 that were announced three years ago.

In total, of the 77 health-care workers who were supposed to be hired into these primary care networks, only 32 positions were filled in Richmond as of March.

In 2019, the ministry of health announced there would be three primary care networks in Richmond which would bring in 32 new doctors, 14 new nurse practitioners and 24 other health-care workers such as nurses and pharmacists.

In addition to the lack of doctors, only four nurse-practitioners out of 14 had hired into the system.

The Richmond News recently reported how several family doctors in Richmond are feeling burned out with large patient loads and high overhead costs such as rent and administration.

It’s estimated 900,000 people across B.C. – about one in five – is without a family doctor.

The PCNs and the newly opened permanent Urgent and Primary Care Centre (UPCC) on No. 3 Road have been touted by the BC NDP government as part of the solution to the doctor shortage.

UPCC are meant to divert patients from the hospital for less urgent medical issues.

An online glance at the Richmond UPCC on Friday, however, showed a two-hour wait time.

The PCN allows health-care workers to work in private medical offices, for example, a nurse-practitioner could take a case load of patients that would normally go to a family doctor.

The BC Liberals have been taking the government to task over the lack of family doctors and Health Minister Adrian Dix subsequently released data on how many health care workers have been hired in various communities across the province.

The documents show that, in other communities as well, health-care professionals haven’t been hired at the rate announced.

For example, of the 17.5 full-time doctors promised for the North Shore, only three have been hired.

In Vancouver, about 15 doctors have been hired whereas 48 have been promised.