The BC government has announced plans for a new primary health-care strategy to deliver faster and improved access to health care.
Premier John Horgan says a new team-based care model is designed to overcome the long standing issue of too many people not being able to find a family doctor.
“And that team based approach means we’re going to connect people with doctors, nurse practitioners, pharmacists, psychologists, social workers, dietitians, physiotherapists and other health care professionals, that will meet their needs, when they need it, where they need it,” Horgan told a news conference.
The government will provide funding for up to 200 new family doctors, in addition to the 200 new nurse practitioner positions announced Wednesday, and plan to put in place primary care networks in at least 15 communities over the next year.
“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,” says Health Minister Adrian Dix. “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.”
The province also plans to open 10 urgent primary care centres in unspecified locations to provide access to a doctor or nurse practitioner, after hours and on weekends, taking the pressure off hospital emergency departments.
Dr. Trina Larsen Soles, president, Doctors of BC, says physicians welcome the promise to hire more doctors and other health professionals to give them more supports to provide comprehensive primary care services.
“Networking with other professionals will allow doctors to focus more on direct patient care, enhancing the physician-patient relationship. The bottom line is doctors went into medicine to look after patients, and the more we can work together to accomplish this, the better the results will be for all of us.”
Photo courtesy of flicker.com/BC government