As an interim measure while primary care capacity is being added in the community in the coming months, Kamloops residents without a family doctor can now call HealthLink BC at 8-1-1 to be placed on a waitlist for a primary care provider.
In October, Health Minister Terry Lake announced a four-point action plan to address patient access to primary health care in the community by leveraging multiple health professional resources. Primary care is typically the first and main point of contact a patient has within the health-care system – usually care from a family doctor or nurse practitioner.
“HealthLink BC is a trusted source of health information, advice and assistance navigating the health system,” said Lake. “While a waitlist is not a solution to the overall issue in Kamloops, it helps to mitigate the frustration residents feel when they don’t know where to turn. Having a central place where people without a family doctor can put their name will ensure that they can be connected with primary care practices as soon as more doctors and nurse practitioners become available.”
In addition, HealthLink BC will connect callers from Kamloops who are frail elderly, have complex medical needs, or have moderate to severe mental-health and substance-use concerns to appropriate Interior Health community care services. As well, if a caller is experiencing symptoms, they can also speak to a HealthLink BC nurse who will be able to provide health information and advise them on appropriate next steps for addressing their health concern.
“I’m pleased by the ongoing recruitment underway to bring more health care professionals to Kamloops,” said Todd Stone, MLA for Kamloops-South Thompson. “Working together in integrated teams is a key step to connecting more patients with providers.”
This primary care waitlist is for Kamloops residents only. Callers will have to confirm their address using their postal code.
The four-point action plan to address patient access to primary health care in Kamloops includes:
- Taking immediate steps to increase capacity at walk-in clinics and existing doctors’ offices through the use of locum family doctors over the next six months.
- Increasing existing ongoing practice capacity through targeted recruitment of family doctors and a new “nurse-in-practice” program.
- Establishing and recruiting practitioners to new “practice ready” primary care centres, including placing internationally educated doctors from the Practice Ready Assessment program and recruiting nurse practitioners.
- Setting up specialized community care teams for the frail elderly, patients who are medically complex, and people with mental health and substance use concerns.
For more information on the Kamloops primary care action plan, please visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2016HLTH0072-001941