Amid a family doctor shortage in B.C., a staggering 45 medical walk-in clinics have closed since 2010.
“It has to do with the lack of doctors and not being able to find doctors to work their schedule. So walk-in clinics are open usually from 8 to 8 and they try to be open on the weekends and after hours, but they just can’t get doctors to work those hours,” says Walk-In Clinics of B.C. director Mike McLoughlin.
He says the problem is two-fold: a shrinking supply of doctors and many new generation physicians wanting a better work-life balance.
“It’s a changing demographic so you’ve got a situation where there’s just this ongoing shortage of family doctors.”
READ MORE: CKNW Health Series: Struggling to find a GP
McLoughlin says the other issue is the provincial government caps on the number of patients a walk-in clinic doctor can see in a day.
After 50 visits, doctors are paid 50 per cent of a billing, and after 65 patients, doctors don’t get paid at all.
He says with fewer doctors and walk-in clinics, many people needing medical attention end up at the E.R.