June 28, 2016 - 9:00 PM
KAMLOOPS - Plans to bring a new health centre to the North Shore is expected to offer some relief to residents impacted by the city’s doctor shortage.
The health ministry, Division of Family Practice and Interior Health Authority are working on a new facilty for patients with no regular doctor, Minister of Health and local MLA Terry Lake says.
“We’re looking at the idea of what’s called a primary care home, which is an interdisciplinary team of care,” he says. “We hope to have something in September on the ground so that we have a phone number and a place where unattached patients can go.”
The plan is to have the facility act like a clinic. Patients may not see the same person each time they go in, and to keep continuity of care between visits patient records will be kept on site electronically.
The interdisciplenary team will include physicians, nurse practitioners and nurses. It could also include other medical staff like pharmacists and counsellors.
The facility may not be ready in September but a solid plan will be in place with doors opening soon after, Lake says. It also may not open at full strength, and may grow after opening.
It’s likely to be placed on the North Shore, Lake says.
“We know there’s close to 10,000 unattached patients right now in the City of Kamloops and a high number of those are on the North Shore,” he says. “We have a highly vulnerable population there.”
Many communities in B.C. are struggling to keep or recruit doctors. Lake says this is one way to deal with the need.
“We can’t take a Xerox machine and have 10 more doctors here tomorrow,” he says.
Lake is planning to meet with the health authority this week to reiterate the facility is of the 'utmost urgency' to Kamloops.
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