More jobs coming as new primary care networks introduced across B.C.

Henrietta Strickland
September 16, 2020

Health Minister Adrian Dix says the new networks in regions such as the central Okanagan and the East Kootenays will be added over the next three years to 17 that already exist.

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

The previous Liberal government promised to link every person to a doctor by 2015 but had to abandon the plan as unachievable even after spending millions-of-dollars to try to court new physicians.

These new networks will recruit approximately 470 new health workers - doctors, nurses, nurse practitioners, and allied workers such as mental health professionals, end-of-life support workers and others, Dix said.

Primary care networks are clinical networks of providers in a geographic area where patients receive expanded, comprehensive care, and improved access to primary care.

"About 17% of people in British Columbia report not having a primary care provider".

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

Additionally the networks have been created to address primary care priorities of individual communities such as: providing better access to chronic disease and chronic pain management; improving access to mental-health and substance-use services; culturally safe and appropriate care for Indigenous people; helping to co-ordinate services for vulnerable people with complex health issues; and providing comprehensive services for people living in poverty. For Indigenous peoples, this will mean more co-ordinated and culturally safe and appropriate primary care support such as traditional healers and Indigenous navigators. "By working together with our partner Nations, the Dene, Secwepemic, Tsilhqot'in and Métis communities, we know these primary care networks will reflect the unique cultural and health-care needs of the communities they serve", said Dr. Doug Cochrane, Interior Health board chair.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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