Government is transforming everyday health care for people living in the South Okanagan Similkameen region by moving forward with the creation of a primary-care network (PCN).
This network will bring additional resources and allow for planning a new team-based primary-care clinic in the region.
Over the next three years, up to 22 new health-care providers will be recruited to work in the PCN. This includes six new general practitioners, five new nurse practitioners and 11 additional health-care professionals ranging from registered nurses and social workers to a pharmacist.
“We know many people in the South Okanagan Similkameen region are challenged to find consistent primary care,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “Creating a primary-care network in Summerland, Penticton and Okanagan Falls is a step forward in providing thousands of residents in the region with access to the comprehensive primary-care services they need and deserve. Over time, we will bring more communities to the network, so more people across the region can have easier and faster access to quality health care.”
With the new and existing providers, the PCN will improve access to care and strengthen support for patients and providers to attach thousands of patients in the South Okanagan Similkameen to regular primary care, starting in the communities of Summerland, Penticton and Okanagan Falls. Over time, the PCN will expand to include Oliver, Osoyoos, Keremeos, Princeton and surrounding First Nations communities.
The PCN will work toward opening a new team-based care clinic in Penticton, which is anticipated to open in 2020. The clinic will provide extended hours of service and help address a portion of the attachment needs in the community.
The new services will be integrated over the next three years with over 50 general practitioners located in 20 existing primary-care clinics in Penticton, Summerland and Okanagan Falls, and will expand to include additional clinics and practitioners in the surrounding communities. The network will partner new and existing health-care professionals with the health authority and community organizations as part of a networked, team-based approach to providing care.
“Previously, primary-care providers often worked in silos, shouldering the workload and administrative duties,” said Dix. “By linking primary-care providers in networks we will help to put the patient at the centre of their own care and reduce the workload and stress that providers face.”
The PCN will focus on the specific needs of the community and improve health services identified as high priority for the community, including:
- enhanced access to regular, extended and after-hours services for comprehensive primary care;
- provision of team-based care through an interdisciplinary team of allied health professionals; and
- increased access to both primary-care practices.
The PCN will operate in close partnership and collaboration with the South Okanagan Similkameen Division of Family Practice, local First Nations and Interior Health. PCNs are also being implemented in Fraser northwest communities and in Burnaby.
The provincial government is providing approximately $4.4 million in annual funding to the South Okanagan Similkameen region by the third year, as net new positions are added and patients are attached.
To learn more about the Province’s primary health-care strategy, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2018PREM0034-001010
Two backgrounders follow.