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VICTORIA, B.C. — As of October 1st, 54 new doctors have signed contracts to provide full-service primary care in communities throughout the province, according to B.C.’s Ministry of Health.

A spokesperson from the Ministry of Health says more than 60 family physicians discussed suitable clinic placements and contract terms.

There are reportedly several contracts that applicants have initiated in the north.

The Ministry of Health says they continue to work with Northern Health to provide information to physicians and medical students in residency practicing family medicine in the north.

On September 29th, the ministry announced an expansion of the UBC faculty of medicine.

This was enabled by UBC’s partnership with universities and all health authorities and will create more opportunities for students and resident doctors to learn, train and stay on to practice in communities around B.C.

The ministry says this means an additional eight seats to the Northern Medical Program, bringing the total number of seats to 40.

In June this year, the Ministry of Health offered new incentives to recent family medicine graduates via a new-to-practice family physician contract program.

New family physicians who sign the contract will reportedly earn $295,457 for the first year, a $25,000 signing bonus, medical training debt forgiveness of up to $50,000 for the first year and up to $20,000 for years two to five.

Additionally, the doctor will receive a $75,000 payment that will contribute to overhead costs for their host clinic.

Since this initiative, 140 new family physicians have expressed interest in the incentives, according to the ministry.

These incentives are part of B.C.’s Health Human Resources Strategy to improve and increase access to health care for people, says the ministry.

Another initiative to assist patients in accessing primary care services includes $118 million in stabilization funding to support family doctors in B.C.

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Shailynn Foster

Shailynn Foster is a news reporter for Shailynn has been writing since she was 7 years old, but only recently started her journey as a journalist. Shailynn was born and raised in Fort St. John and she watches way too much YouTube, Netflix and Disney+ during the week while playing DND on the weekends.