B.C. doctors have ratified a new three-year physician master agreement, which promises better pay and more rural funding, among other things.
Voting on the agreement closed at midnight Monday night (Dec. 5), with 5,591 ballots cast and 95.15 per cent of them in favour.
The proposed agreement was first announced at the end of October, along with a new family physician payment model, developed by the B.C. government and Doctors of B.C. It includes a $708-million incremental cost increase by the end of year three, representing a 13.2 per cent bump over government’s current funding. If inflation continues to rise, funding can increase up to 15.2 per cent.
The fresh funds will go in part to backing the new payment model, investing in rural programs, and addressing specialist and gender-based disparity issues. Associate physicians will receive a tripling in funding to $128 million to address workload issues and introduce a premium for after-hours work.
Business cost premiums will also be increased for all doctors, and will now include specialists working in hospitals. And, for the first time since it was introduced, the Medical On-Call Availability Program that compensates doctors who are part of a call rotation will be increased.
Doctors of BC said all their agreements going forward will also include Indigenous-specific anti-racism.
In a statement to Black Press Media, Health Minister Adrian Dix said he was pleased the agreement had passed with such strong support and that he believes it will result in better health-care access across the province.