12/05/2014 02:35 EST | Updated 02/04/2015 05:59 EST

New doctors' deal to improve care in rural and remote areas: B.C. government

VICTORIA - Doctors in B.C. have signed a five-year agreement, which the government says will improve care in rural and remote communities.

The province says new funding will help recruit and retain doctors for those areas and increase access to family physicians and surgical services throughout the province.

The deal provides a 5.5 per cent hike in compensation and incentives by the end of the five-year term, in March 2019.

It also includes money for doctors' overhead costs such as clerical staff and medical equipment.

Dr. Bill Cavers, president of Doctors of BC, says that along with new funding for key areas, the deal provides five years of stability that will allow for innovative change to the health-care system.

The new contract for 10,000 physicians is similar to others negotiated with the public sector and allows for increased compensation if the economy performs better than forecasted.