There are several organizations that support and/or influence rural locums in British Columbia.
There are several main categories of groups supporting and/or influencing BC’s rural locums.
Health authorities – there are several regional health areas within BC. Several organizations are geographically based (Northern Health, Interior Health, Island Health, Fraser Health, Vancouver Coastal Health), while two are provincially based and focus on a specific set of services (Provincial Health Services Authority, First Nations Health Authority).
Rural locums practicing in BC establish a direct relationship and administrative link with the geographic health authority that oversees the community(s) they practice in.
Ministry of Health – the BC government broadly oversees the activities of the BC Emergency Health Services as well as HealthMatch BC, which recruits healthcare providers for the province. Locums for Rural BC – which operates through HealthMatch BC – administers the Rural GP Locum Program, the Rural GP Anesthetist Locum Program, and the Rural Specialist Locum Program on behalf of the Ministry.
In conjunction with the Doctors of BC, the Ministry of Health develops rural health policy for the province, and administers rural programs for rural physicians. All of this work is done through the Joint Standing Committee for Rural Issues (JSC).
Doctors of BC – this physician association provides policy supports for rural physicians through its work on the Joint Standing Committee on Rural Issues, and Rural Issues Committee. The Doctors of BC also supports rural locums through the Divisions of Family Practice, which is comprised of geographic divisions as well as the Rural and Remote Division of Family Practice. The divisions develop and deploy regionally-relevant initiatives to support health care improvements and supports within individual communities. Through the work of the Rural and Remote Division, the JSC, and the Rural Coordination Centre of BC, BC’s rural locums are developing infrastructure that specifically supports locums, including locum representation at policy discussions.
Rural organizations – the Joint Standing Committee on Rural Issues (JSC) brings together representatives from the Ministry of Health and Doctors of BC to develop rural health care policy and administer rural physician incentive programs. The JSC oversees the activities of the Rural Education Action Plan (REAP) and the Rural Coordination Centre of BC (RCCbc) which both work to support rural physician recruitment and retention through education, policy development, and advocacy. Recently, the JSC endowed the Rural Doctors’ UBC Chair in Rural Health within the UBC Department of Family Practice which is working to provide academic leadership in rural affairs, establish relevant research, and address rural physician recruitment and retention.
UBC – the UBC Department of Family Practice (DFP) works closely with the JSC, REAP, and RCCbc to provide rural-based training experiences, supports, and courses for medical undergraduates and postgraduates. The DFP is the academic home of the Rural Doctors’ UBC Chair in Rural Health, is working with the JSC to strengthen the rural footprint within the Faculty of Medicine.
The UBC Division of Continuing Professional Development (UBC CPD) is housed within the UBC Faculty of Medicine and works closely with RCCbc and REAP to develop traveling CME/CPD courses and online offerings, support rural conferences, and create resiliency supports for physicians and/or interprofessional teams.