5 new primary care networks coming to Vancouver Island
B.C. Minister of Health Adrian Dix speaks at a daily COVID-19 update on August 17, 2020: (Province of B.C. / Flickr)
VICTORIA -- Dramatic changes are coming to health-care services on Vancouver Island, the B.C. government announced Tuesday.
Five new primary care networks are coming to the Comox Valley, Cowichan, Oceanside, Saanich Peninsula and the Western Communities.
Primary care networks connect care providers, such as doctors and nurse practitioners, with residents of an area. The B.C. government says that this will help connect people who do not have a regular primary care provider, like a family doctor, with one in their community.
In the Comox Valley, up to 13 new full-time health-care staff members will join the network of health practitioners in the area over the next three years. Once the new primary care network is established, the provincial government will supply the network with $2.2 million in annual funding.
Two new health-care positions are also being created for the region, an Indigenous wellness liaison and an Indigenous wellness advocate.
“For Indigenous peoples, this will mean more co-ordinated and culturally safe primary care support,” said the B.C. government in a release Tuesday.
In the Cowichan area, 36 new full-time health-care employees will come to the region over the next four years.
The B.C. government says this primary care network will help connect approximately 16,750 people who do not have a family doctor with a new consistent primary care provider. Once the network is up and running, the province will provide an annual operating fund of $6.5 million.
In the Oceanside area – which includes communities like Parksville, Qualicum Beach, Errington, Coombs and Bowser – 23 new health-care staff members are expected to arrive over the next four years.
Once the network is established, the area will receive a $4.6 million operating fund from the B.C. government. Meanwhile, approximately 11,950 people in the area will be connected with a regular primary care provider over this time.
In the Saanich Peninsula, 29 new full-team health-care professionals are expected to be added to the network over the next four years. The region will receive $4.9 million in annual funding by 2024.
In the Western Communities – which includes Esquimalt, View Royal, Colwood, Langford, Highlands Metchosin, Sooke, the Juan de Fuca Coast and five local First Nations – 50 more health-care professionals are slated to arrive over the next four years.
This primary care network will receive an annual operating fund of $10.3 million from the B.C. government.
Over the next four years, approximately 51,000 people who do not currently have a primary care provider in the Saanich Pneninsula and Western Communities will be connected with one.
The B.C. government adds that across these two regions, an Indigenous wellness support coach and a cultural safety facilitator will be hired to support Indigenous health.
“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,” said B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix in a release Tuesday.
“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,” he said.
The five new primary care networks coming to Vancouver Island are among 22 that were announced across the province on Tuesday.