Government is transforming everyday health care for people living in the Cowichan region by establishing a primary care network, which will bring additional resources and strengthened support to the region.
“As part of our government’s primary care strategy, we’re making life healthier and better for everyone in B.C. Through primary care networks, we are providing team-based health care and are giving people a seamless patient-centred experience that is responsive to the unique needs of each community,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “The primary care network in Cowichan will bring meaningful change in the communities by helping more local residents access the comprehensive care they need and deserve, closer to home.”
The Ministry of Health will provide approximately $6.5 million in annual funding to the primary care network once it is fully operational.
Over the next four years, residents of Cowichan will benefit from 36.2 full-time equivalent health providers who will provide better access to primary care. This includes family physicians, nurse practitioners and allied health professionals such as registered nurses, social workers and a clinical pharmacist.
In addition, a team of primary care and allied health professionals will be recruited in support of Indigenous health. For Indigenous peoples, this will mean more co-ordinated and culturally safe primary care support.
The Cowichan primary care networks will see community partners working together to ensure thousands of people have access to comprehensive, co-ordinated and team-based primary care services for all of their day-to-day health-care needs in Cowichan communities.
The primary care network will provide a full range of accessible, everyday health services that will better support patients and providers. The network was developed to better meet the specific needs of the community and to strengthen services identified as high priority. These include:
- improved access for those with mild to moderate mental health conditions within the primary care setting;
- better co-ordinated services for families and seniors who are frail and people with complex health issues;
- more access to comprehensive services for people living in poverty; and
- culturally safe care for Indigenous peoples.
For people and families, it means getting faster, better access to their primary care team or provider, including evenings and weekends, as well as being connected to appropriate services and supports in the community.
Over the next four years, the network will work to attach 16,750 patients to a consistent primary care provider in the region, while providing team-based and culturally-safe care to local residents.
“For far too long, many Indigenous people have felt disconnected from the health-care system,” said Sheila Malcolmson, MLA for Nanaimo. “With an emphasis on providing culturally safe and welcoming spaces, the team-based, networked care launching in the region incorporates the knowledge of First Nations partners about what is needed to better support the community to regular primary care.”
The Cowichan primary care network is a result of a partnership between the Ministry of Health, Island Health, the Cowichan Valley Division of Family Practice, First Nations Health Authority, local Indigenous organizations and communities, and Our Cowichan Communities Health Network.
To learn more about the Province’s primary health-care strategy, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2018PREM0034-001010
To learn more about the Province’s strategy to increase the number of nurse practitioners, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2018HLTH0034-000995
To learn more about the Province’s strategy to recruit and retain more family medicine graduates, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2018HLTH0052-001043
Two backgrounders follow.