B.C. physicians should be better utilized: auditor general

Jeremy Nuttall

By Jeremy Nuttall, 24 hours Vancouver



British Columbia’s auditor general isn’t sure the province’s physicians are being utilized as well as they could be, and that oversight in services needs to improve.

In his report into physicians’ services released Thursday, Russ Jones indicated it’s “unclear” if taxpayers are getting value out of the current fee-for-services model.

Currently, physicians are paid mainly based on the type of service and number of patients they see. As it is, Jones said government might not be paying the correct fees for those services across the province.

“You may have a heart surgeon operating in Fraser Health that may not be assessed the same way in Vancouver Island Health Authority,” said Jones in a conference call with reporters.

He said fees for services improving a patient’s quality of life might not be higher than fees for services that don’t.

Jones added different health authorities and bodies needed to decide “who is doing what” to begin to improve the overall administration of the health system.

Provincial Health Minister Terry Lake said Victoria would work to address the issue raised in the auditor general’s report, but added a healthcare system is incredibly complicated to run.

“The challenges raised by the auditor general – physician oversight, value for tax dollars and our regulatory framework – are common challenges faced by jurisdictions across Canada and the developed world,” he said in a release.

Lake also defended the health-care system and said British Columbians have better cancer survivor rates and lower heart attack rates than the rest of Canada.




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