Kelowna to get primary care network, province announces - InfoNews

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Kelowna to get primary care network, province announces

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix
Image Credit: FACEBOOK/Government of B.C.
September 15, 2020 - 12:04 PM

Kelowna is one of 22 regions in B.C. getting a primary care network, which is a complement of health professionals intended to offer a better continuum of care to people suffering from everything from mental health issues to chronic illness.

“It will support and connect with the two urgent and primary care centres — one in Kelowna and one in West Kelowna — and support local doctors’ offices and health clinics with more staff and more support,” health minister Adrian Dix said today, Sept. 15.

The primary care network will work to connect approximately 28,580 patients to a primary care provider over the next four years with dozens of new health professionals to be hired.

The network connects physicians, other primary care providers, allied health care providers, health authority service providers, and community organizations so they can work together to provide all the primary care services a local population requires. Patients will have access to a full range of health-care options from maternity to end of life, streamlining referrals from one provider to another, and providing better support to family physicians, nurse practitioners, and other primary health-care providers.

Dix said new networks are the culmination of years of work by communities, by divisions of family practices, by First Nation governments, by the Ministry of Health and the health authorities.

They’ve come together to “build the primary care centre system that we need in the 20th century,” he said.

Primary Care networks are becoming the backbone of team-based care in B.C, and are an important part of the Premier's primary care strategy, Dix said.

“The best kind of care is longitudinal care, care where your providers know who you are, know your health history, and can help you stay healthy and respond especially to chronic disease,” Dix said. “What primary care networks mean for British Columbians therefore, is an ongoing relationship with a primary care provider which has important elements of a healthy long life — faster and more convenient access to care, a range of services that are culturally appropriate and safe."

B.C. already has 17 primary care networks and more than 200 people have been hired to support those existing networks.

"About 17 per cent of people in British Columbia report not having a primary care provider. This means that these people often have to wait long hours in walk-in clinics or at their local emergency departments to get the care they need. Our primary care strategy and the networks are providing a real solution to people so they can get the care they need, closer to home," Dix said.

“These networks are already benefiting thousands of patients,” he said.

The primary care networks will be in Comox, southern Vancouver Island, Cowichan, Oceanside, White Rock/South Surrey, Chilliwack/Fraser rural, Mission, Central Okanagan, Central Interior rural, Kootenay Boundary, East Kootenay and Vancouver.

Over the next three to four years, across all networks, the team of health-care providers will see hundreds of thousands of patient visits annually.The primary care networks will be in Comox, southern Vancouver Island, Cowichan, Oceanside, White Rock/South Surrey, Chilliwack/Fraser rural, Mission, Central Okanagan, Central Interior rural, Kootenay Boundary, East Kootenay and Vancouver.

Over the next three to four years, across all networks, the team of health-care providers will see hundreds of thousands of patient visits annually.

The addition of 22 more primary care networks means there will be 39 across the province.


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