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How many Kamloops residents are on the family doctor waitlist?

It’s a question, among others, the Ministry of Health refuses to answer
family doctor

British Columbians without family doctors advised to add their name to a waitlist by calling 8-1-1.

However, once they register for that waitlist, they remain in the dark as to when they may receive primary care.

On May 26, Kamloops This Week reached out to the Ministry of Health’s media relations department, following an inquiry from a reader about where they stand on a waitlist to get a family physician.

The Kamloops resident indicated they had lost their family doctor four years ago and registered through 8-1-1 to get on a waitlist for a new physician.

The individual has been waiting ever since. When they tried to find out where they stand on the waitlist and how long it might take to get a new doctor or nurse practitioner, no clear answer was provided.

KTW reached out to the ministry and, despite numerous emails and phone calls between May 26 and July 4, has been unable to obtain basic information about the system.

In a May 26 media request, KTW asked:

• How many people in Kamloops and across B.C. are on a waitlist for a family doctor or nurse practitioner?

• Are people are allowed to know where they stand on the waitlist?

• Is a waitlist system effective if doctors take on some patients via other avenues (such as word of mouth)?

• What is the longest a British Columbian has been on the waitlist?

• How often does the waitlist turn over?

The ministry was told personal information was not being sought.

Ministry of Health senior public affairs officer Amy Crofts provided the following statement to KTW two weeks later, on June 9, and requested it be attributed to the Ministry of Health. The statement did not address any of KTW’s questions:

“The Health Connect Registry (HCR) is a provincial system that allows British Columbians and their families to register for a family doctor or nurse practitioner in a Primary Care Network.

“It is part of the government’s broader strategy to make sure every British Columbian who needs health care has access to family doctors, nurse practitioners and other primary care providers. In the Kamloops area, we continue to see substantial success attaching patients to primary care providers. The HCR is still in its preliminary phase, but it will become an important tool to match patients with primary care services in their community.”

KTW called and spoke to Crofts on June 10, June 17 and July 4, each time requesting more information and each time Croft stated she would look into the matter.

The only additional statement was provided on July 4: “With regards to your questions, we provided the statement below [previous statement attached]. We are happy to consider any other questions, but our response to your questions and follow-up stands.”