B.C. doctors reach deal with province on higher fees

Agreement gives physicians 5.5 per cent increase in compensation and incentives over five years

Dr. Bill Cavers is president of Doctors of B.C.

Dr. Bill Cavers is president of Doctors of B.C.

B.C.’s 10,000 doctors and specialists will get a 5.5 per cent increase in their fees and incentives over five years under a new agreement with the provincial government.

The new physician master agreement is also expected to give doctors more say in helping design health care system reforms within health authorities.

The increases in compensation and incentives for B.C.’s mostly fee-for-service doctors are expected to cost the province an extra $216 million over five years.

Another $143 million is earmarked for recruiting new doctors, retaining existing ones in challenging areas, ensuring better access to family physicians and primary health care.

“The agreement provides us with five years of stability during which we can work with our partners to lead in bringing innovative change to the health-care system — change that will benefit patients,” said Dr. Bill Cavers, president of Doctors of B.C. (formerly the B.C. Medical Association.)

Health Minister Terry Lake said the deal fits within the province’s economic stability mandate and allows for further increases if the economy performs well.