B.C. NDP creating Primary Care Networks to help British Columbians access healthcare

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NDP government unveils new health care plan
WATCH: The NDP government is rolling out a new three-year plan to overhaul the health care system. Nadia Stewart tells us how many more doctors the government wants to bring in, and which communities would benefit the most – May 24, 2018

Hundreds of new family doctors and nurse practitioners will be injected into B.C.’s health system in the coming years as part of the NDP government’s strategy to improve and modernize primary care.

Close to 800,000 British Columbians are without a family doctor, including growing communities like Chilliwack and Prince George.

LISTEN: B.C. to fill primary care gaps with 200 more nurse practitioners

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The province announced funding for 200 new general practitioners to work in a new “team-based” model.

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The province hopes to achieve team-based care through the creation of Primary Care Networks, where patients can access a range of healthcare options through a more streamlined referral process. The networks are being rolled out in five communities to start: Burnaby, Richmond, Comox, Prince George and South Okanagan Similkameen.

Ultimately, the goal is to have the networks established in 70 per cent of B.C. over the next three years.

“We do note that the model of primary care that has existed in British Columbia since the creation of medicare here is in need of change,” said B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix.

“It’s in need of change because many people are unattached, because we have to change the way we prevent and provide primary care to communities big and small throughout British Columbia.”

There are also plans to build more urgent care centres and community health centres.

B.C. Premier John Horgan said good health is the foundation for a good life.

“Far too many British Columbians cannot find a family doctor,” he said. “In Chilliwack, one in four people don’t have access to a primary care provider. Clearly we have a shortage of family doctors in British Columbia. So now, we need to look at things differently.”

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