FILE – British Columbia Health Minister Adrian Dix speaks before Premier John Horgan announces a new hospital would be built in Surrey, B.C., on Monday December 9, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

B.C. to launch 22 primary care networks to provide team-based health care

Networks aim to bring more integrated, closer-to-home care based on community needs

The province is launching 22 new primary care networks across 13 regions to provide health care for British Columbians who do not have family doctors.

The networks will cost $78.54 million, Health Minister Adrian Dix said Tuesday (Sept. 15).

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

“Primary care networks will become the backbone of team-based care in B.C.,” Dix said. “The idea is that we’re not just adding health professionals… we need to work together to give patients the care they need.”

There are currently 17 existing primary care networks in B.C. The 22 new ones have so far hired 270 health-care workers including doctors, nurse practitioners, nurses and allied health professionals.

“Through primary care networks, we are providing team-based health care and giving people a seamless patient-centred experience that is responsive to the unique needs of each community,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health in a media release. “The primary care networks…will bring meaningful change in the communities by helping more local residents access the comprehensive care they need and deserve, closer to home.”

The networks will provide a full range of accessible, everyday health services that will better support patients and providers. The networks were developed to better meet the specific needs of the community and to strengthen services identified as high priority. Among the services that may be provided:

* increased access to primary care supports to unattached patients;

* improved access to mild to moderate mental health and substance use services;

* culturally safe primary care for Indigenous peoples; and

* better co-ordinated services for families and seniors who are frail and people with complex health issues.

The list of new primary care networks includes Comox, south Vancouver Island, White Rock/South Surrey, Central Okanagan, Kootenay Boundary and the East Kootenays. They will include urgent and primary care centres as well as community health centres, integrated with existing clinics.


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