Primary care, doctors and new facilities announced for Kamloops

Health Minister and Kamloops-North Thompson MLA Terry Lake, left, and Transportation Minister and Kamloops-South Thompson MLA Todd Stone announce new measures to accommodate patients in need of family doctors in Kamloops, Thursday, Oct. 6, 2016.

KAMLOOPS - A new four point plan has been announced by the province to help address the doctor shortage in Kamloops.

The B.C. government plan includes immediately working to increase capacity at walk-in clinics and existing doctor’s office, two new primary care centres, and specialized community care teams for elderly and medically complex patients. Steps are being taken to create a temporary program to move locums to Kamloops, according to a Ministry of Health media release. Locums are doctors who work in a location temporarily to cover things like vacation, typically.

New recruitment strategies are also part of the plan, announced by Minister of Health Terry Lake at a media conference today, Oct. 6. They will target doctors, nurse practitioners and nurses.

The two new primary care facilities will take a team-based approach. Locations have already been chosen and renovations are under way at the North Shore health centre and Northillls Centre. The centres will be equipped and furnished by January 2017.  A third centre, located on the south shore is also being considered.

Up to five new doctors will be sent to Kamloops as well, from a provincial program which locates doctors from outside Canada to underserved communities after they’ve been approved by the government.

A specialized team to work with patients with mental health and substance use concerns.

A waitlist is being created by the Ministry of Health as well, so that residents can call and be added to a list of people without doctors. When room becomes available at a primary care practice, people from the waitlist will be connected with the practice. A phone number to call will be available at the end of October.

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