How BC Can Fix Primary Health Care, With or Without Corporations


Health Minister Adrian Dix says business can play a role in delivering health services. Not everyone agrees. Part of a series.

Andrew MacLeod 11 Sep 2020 | TheTyee.ca
Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee’s Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria and the author of All Together Healthy (Douglas & McIntyre, 2018). Find him on Twitter or reach him at amacleod@thetyee.ca

To describe the way he practises medicine, Baldev Sanghera gives the example of a teenager who comes into his Burnaby clinic seeking help with acne.

Sanghera would treat the skin problem. But he says he’d also be attentive to the patient’s anxiety that goes along with it. He would take the opportunity to talk with them about mental health, self-esteem and confidence.

If more is going on, he might talk about linking the teen with a school counsellor or teachers to help with educational supports or discuss sexual health.

The kinds of topics a doctor can raise when they have built a relationship with a patient over time. It’s entirely different from the kind of care the patient would have gotten from a walk-in clinic or a virtual service focused on one-off appointments, he said. “You wouldn’t do that if you were just providing the single episodic care visit, which is, ‘Oh you’ve got acne, here’s your antibiotic. OK, thanks, bye.’” 

Walk-in clinics are needed to relieve pressures in the system, he said, but they should be closely co-ordinated with physicians who are providing long-term care for patients, he said. “Episodic care sometimes misses the big picture, and you’re focused on the immediate need of that person at that point.”

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