People living in the East Kootenays will have better access to primary health care with the creation and implementation of a primary care network in the region.
“Through our primary care strategy, we are transforming the way people get the health care they need now and for generations to come with the establishments of networks of primary care providers to bring additional resources and strengthen health care supports in regions throughout B.C.,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “As a result, our strategy is reflective and responsive to the primary health care needs of the people they serve, including in East Kootenay, where we are establishing a new primary care network.”
The East Kootenay primary care network has launched and is beginning to hire new health-care providers. Over the next four years, people in the region will benefit from approximately 60 full-time equivalent health-care providers, who will work as part of the network. The Province will provide approximately $9.1 million in annual funding to the network by the fourth year, as net new positions are added and patients are attached.
The new health-care providers in the network will work to attach the approximately 18,220 people who do not have a consistent primary care provider in the region in the next four years, while also providing team-based care to residents within the East Kootenays. Additionally, it will address the specific needs of the population, while ensuring there is a team-based approach to providing culturally safe care. These include strengthened supports and services for:
- better access to chronic disease management;
- improved access to services for individuals with mild to moderate mental-health and substance-use services;
- 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 and appropriate care for Indigenous peoples.
For people and families, it means getting faster, better access to their primary care team or provider, even on evenings and weekends, as well as being connected to appropriate services and supports in the community.
Local Elders will also be supported to provide traditional wellness and peer support, as champions in their communities. For Aboriginal people, this will mean more co-ordinated and culturally safe primary care support.
Physicians, First Nation health centres and primary care centres in the region will all have the opportunity to participate in the network. Protocols between Aboriginal communities are being developed to advise the Ktunaxa Nation on provision of health-care services to Aboriginal people in that region.
“I wish to offer congratulations to the provincial government, the health districts and to the social investment sector for accomplishing this outstanding partnership,” said Sophie Pierre, Elder and former Chief, Ktunaxa Nation. “When First Nations and Métis benefit from such collaboration, all people of the province benefit.”
The East Kootenay primary care network is a partnership between the Ministry of Health, Interior Health, East Kootenay Division of Family Practice, the Ktunaxa Nation and Shuswap Indian Band.
The primary care network will benefit people living in Cranbrook, Kimberley, Fernie, Sparwood, Invermere, Elkford, Golden and Creston.
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.