Media Contacts

Ministry of Health

250 952-1887 (media line)


Making it easier for people to find a primary-care provider

The Province is making it easier for people to get a family doctor or nurse practitioner in their community by:

  • expanding the Health Connect Registry provincewide, available for people to register themselves and their families to get a primary-care provider;
  • implementing a new rostering registry for individual family doctors and nurse practitioners to manage their patient-panel information and identify when they can accept new patients; and
  • opening a clinic and provider registry for medical directors and staff to provide information about their clinics.

For people seeking a primary-care provider

  • People in B.C. can register themselves and their families online to get a primary-care provider through the Health Connect Registry at:
  • Those who cannot register online can call 811 for assistance.
  • The Ministry of Health, as well as other ministries and services agencies, will provide additional support for people who cannot register online.
  • People who are already registered for attachment through the early regional pilot of Health Connect Registry, or through primary-care networks or divisions of family practice do not have to register again. They will be automatically included in the expanded service without losing their place.
  • The Ministry of Health will work with family doctors and nurse practitioners to identify early opportunities to connect patients with primary-care providers through current capacity, starting the summer 2023. This will include:
    • new-to-practice family doctors and nurse practitioners on service contracts with an identified patient panel target;
    • family doctors who have signed onto the longitudinal family physician payment model and are new to longitudinal practice and building their patient panels; and
    • family doctors and nurse practitioners who sign onto the rostering registry and can accept new patients.
  • Once a primary-care provider and an individual or family are connected, it will be up to them to make a final decision about continuing the relationship.

For clinics and primary-care providers signing onto the new registries  

  • The Province is also opening the rostering registry for individual primary-care providers and the clinic and providers registry for medical directors and staff.
  • Starting in July and through summer 2023, the Ministry of Health, Doctors of BC, and the Nurses and Nurse Practitioners of BC will support family doctors and nurse practitioners to learn more about and to start using the rostering and clinic registries.
  • The clinic and provider registry will be populated with information provided by Doctors of BC, which was collected during the clinic stabilization payment process in October 2022.
  • Clinic medical directors and delegated staff will sign on through the provider portal and review, validate and update information about their clinics.
  • The early focus for the clinic and provider registry will be on longitudinal family practices. The registry will expand to include other types of clinics over the next several months.
  • Individual family doctors and nurse practitioners will sign on to the rostering registry through the provider portal and provide information about their individual practices, identify their availability for new patients, including how many new patients they can potentially take on, and upload their panel data between July and December 2023.
  • Going forward, providers will confidentially maintain current panel data as well as their availability for patients within the registry.  

Recruitment campaign

  • The Province and its partners are recruiting family doctors and nurse practitioners to build local capacity for connection with a primary-care provider and a patient.
  • Additionally, the Province is working with Doctors of BC to build capacity to support the process through primary-care networks and divisions of family practice. This will include recruitment of additional co-ordinators during summer and fall 2023 to help connect individuals and families registered on the Health Connect Registry to an available primary-care provider in their community.
Actions taken to date to increase and improve access to primary care in B.C.

Expansion of the Health Connect Registry builds on government actions to strengthen health care and improve access to team-based primary care since 2018.

Budget 2023 provides nearly $1.1 billion over three years to implement the new compensation model for family doctors announced in October 2022 and launched in February 2023, provide recruitment and retention incentives for new-to-practice family doctors and those approaching retirement, and build new information technology systems, such as patient-clinic registries to support access to primary-care services.

In addition, since 2018-19, the Province has invested more than $692 million to support new team-based primary care in family practice clinics, urgent and primary-care centres (UPCCs), community health centres (CHCs), nurse-practitioner clinics, First Nations primary-care clinics and more, with the goal of networking and better co-ordinating primary-care services through local primary-care networks throughout the province.

  • As of March 2023, approximately 1,500 full-time equivalent health-care workers have been recruited for the public health system, with more to come as the Province continues to expand team-based primary care:
  • There are more than 60 primary-care networks currently in implementation, and work is underway to establish primary-care networks in all communities throughout the province over the next two years.
  • There are 30 new UPCCs in implementation and 20 more in development.
  • There are three nurse-practitioner primary-care clinics, two First Nations primary-care clinics and five CHCs in implementation, with more to open over the next two years.
  • The new longitudinal family physician payment model launched in February 2023 and nearly 3,300 physicians have registered already.
  • The new-to-practice incentives program was introduced in June 2022 for early career or new-to-B.C. family doctors who choose to work in longitudinal family practice. To date, 156 physicians have signed onto the program.
  • The Province collaborated with Doctors of BC in October 2022 to provide $118 million in short-term stabilization payments to primary-care clinics and providers, while developing the new longitudinal family practice payment model. More than 1,230 clinics received stabilization funding.
  • The Health Human Resources Strategy was announced in September 2022. The strategy helps ensure people get the health services they need and are cared for by a healthy workforce. The strategy focuses on 70 actions to recruit, train and retain health-care workers, while redesigning the health-care system to foster workplace satisfaction and innovation.
  • Some key highlights of the actions announced to date include:
    • starting June 1, 2023, pharmacists can prescribe for 21 minor ailments and contraception. Between June 1 and 27, 2023, they provided these services to more than 25,000 people in B.C. Pharmacists can also administer more vaccines and renew some prescriptions;
    • making it easier for internationally educated nurses, medical graduates and allied health professionals to work in B.C.;
    • working with Practice Ready Assessment BC (PRA-BC) to triple the number of PRA-BC supported doctors dedicated to primary-care networks throughout the province;
    • adding as many as 88 new residency seats to expand post-graduate medical education and as many as 40 undergraduate medical education seats annually, in partnership with the Ministry of Post Secondary Education and Future Skills and the University of British Columbia;
    • establishing a second medical school in Surrey; and
    • expanding mental-health services and anti-racism supports for nurses to help strengthen the nursing workforce and enable culturally safe patient care.