The B.C. government is launching a new primary health-care strategy to deliver faster and improved access to health care for British Columbians in all parts of the province.
At the heart of the strategy is a new focus on team-based care that will see government fund and recruit more doctors, nurse practitioners and other health professionals, to put patients back at the centre of health-care delivery.
Government is putting initial priority on addressing the shortage of general practitioners in the province by:
- Providing funding for up to 200 new general practitioners to work in the new team-based care model.
- Offering opportunities for every family medicine resident to work in a renewed primary care system that allows them to focus their time and energy on practising patient-centred medicine.
As part of the new strategy, government will be putting in place:
- Primary care networks: These networks will be the backbone to the team-based approach, allowing patients 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. The networks are being rolled out in the first five communities, including Burnaby, Comox, Prince George, Richmond and South Okanagan Similkameen. The networks will be rolled out in at least 15 communities over the next 12 months, and across 70% of B.C. communities (with populations between 50,000 and 100,000 and smaller populations in rural areas) over the next three years.
- Urgent primary care centres: These centres will be new to B.C., and will both provide primary care to patients who currently do not have a family doctor or nurse practitioner, and weekend and after-hours care, taking pressure off hospital emergency departments. A total of 10 centres will be established over the next 12 months.
- Community health centres: These health centres will bring together health and broader social services to improve access to health promotion, preventive care and ongoing services. Each of these centres will be designed and developed uniquely in line with the needs of their communities and fully integrated into local primary care networks.
Additional technology solutions will help bring health care even closer to home for people, particularly those in rural and remote areas of the province. This will include more use of telehealth services that bring patient and provider together online, and new digital home health monitoring technology.
The primary health-care strategy dovetails with the recently announced surgical and diagnostic strategies, which will see 9,400 more surgeries and 37,000 more MRIs completed this year, in addition to the work already underway on the renewal of hospitals in British Columbia.
From the District of Sooke – Health webpage:
Sooke Region Primary Health Care Centre
The idea of a “one-stop shop” Health Care Centre has been discussed in Sooke for more than a decade, with several proposals coming forward during that time. Varying circumstances have halted each proposal, but the need for expanded primary care has not changed.
The focus of the [Primary Health Care Services Working Group] PHCSWG over the past year has been on further exploring a Primary Health Care Centre for the Sooke Region. A steering committee which includes representation from Island Health has been specifically tasked with moving this initiative forward, with a stakeholder engagement session held in November 2017. The Sooke Community Health Service Planning document outlines the key themes and priorities from this session. An opportunity for residents of the Sooke Region to share their ideas is planned for June 16, 2018.