Recruiting, Keeping Doctors a Community-wide Effort

Playing a role in red carpet welcome programs and facilitating community visits are just two of the ways that BC local governments are collaborating with community-based groups of family physicians (divisions of family practice) and their partners to help recruit, and keep, family doctors practising in their communities so patients receive quality care. 

“Experience has shown that everyone has a role to play,” says Al Richmond, UBCM President. “UBCM is pleased to be a participating partner on the Divisions of Family Practice Recruitment and Retention Steering Committee that is putting important supports and resources in place at a provincial level.”

The committee recently launched an online Recruitment and Retention Toolkit as a comprehensive, easy-to-use source of templates and resources to support health authorities, divisions, community stakeholders and others in their work to recruit and retain family doctors in BC, as well as secure practice coverage.

Examples of materials included in the toolkit:

  • Developing a community profile
  • Orienting new recruits to the community
  • Resources for new-to-practice GPs
  • Practice transition tools for retiring physicians
  • A hyperlinked list of organizations to support community recruitment efforts

 The Divisions of Family Practice Recruitment and Retention Steering Committee is a physician-led initiative funded by the General Practice Services Committee (GPSC), a partnership of Doctors of BC and the BC Government. The steering committee includes representatives from the GPSC, the Joint Standing Committee on Rural Issues, health authorities, and Health Match BC.

In addition to UBCM, other participating partners at the committee table include representatives from the College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC, the UBC Faculty of Medicine (undergrad and postgrad), the First Nations Health Authority, the Society of General Practitioners of BC, the BC College of Family Physicians, and the GPSC’s A GP for Me Working Group.

Development of the toolkit is the first of a number of proposed committee activities to support GP recruitment and retention efforts.

Last year, the steering committee was a key player in developing a March 2015 summit where multiple stakeholders met to discuss concerted efforts to address physician recruitment, retention, and practice coverage challenges in BC. It was the first time that the key organizations in BC that focus on these areas came together to identify common issues and gaps and plot a coordinated way forward.  
The Committee’s activities are guided by four focal points:

  1. Improve access to recruitment and retention information tools and resources, such as the online toolkit.
  2. Strengthen engagement of UBC medical students and residents.
  3. Enhance recruitment and retention of Canadian medical graduates, international medical graduates, and Canadians studying abroad.
  4. Improve practice coverage strategies.

As part of its 365-day plan based on recommendations from the 2015 Summit, the committee is:

  • Developing a physician journey map—a single interactive resource that outlines key steps prospective physicians must take to be eligible to practice in BC, and where physicians from anywhere in the world can go to learn from other physicians about their first-hand experiences working in BC.
  • Creating an online recruitment and retention portal as a centralized source for information and resources to support divisions and other stakeholders.
  • Building alignment with recruitment and retention stakeholders and identifying opportunities to align efforts.


For more information visit the recruitment and retention webpage or email the committee.

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