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Ministry of Health

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Primary care networks in B.C.

The Comox Valley region includes the City of Courtenay, the Town of Comox, the Village of Cumberland and surrounding areas, including Denman and Hornby Islands. These communities have a combined population of 70,046, which is expected to grow to 75,465 by the year 2028.

Primary care networks mean that patients:

  • who do not have a regular primary care provider (a family doctor or nurse practitioner) will be able to get one;
  • will have an ongoing relationship with their primary care provider, which is important for their life-long health;
  • will get access to faster, more convenient care from their doctor or nurse practitioner and the care team;
  • will be provided and connected with a range of appropriate and accessible services and supports;
  • will be informed about all aspects of their care in community; and,
  • will know where to go to get the care they need, even on evenings and weekends.

New resources being allocated include:

  • 285 family physician sessions
  • 1 FTE nurse practitioner
  • 2.99 FTE registered nurses
  • 8 FTE allied health professionals
  • 1 FTE clinical pharmacist
  • 1 FTE Indigenous wellness liaison
  • 1 FTE Indigenous wellness advocate
What people are saying about primary care networks

Leah Hollins, board chair, Island Health —

“With an emphasis on providing culturally safe and welcoming spaces, the team-based care launching in the region incorporates the feedback from First Nations partners about what is needed to better support the community with access to primary care.”

Brennan MacDonald, executive director for Vancouver Island, First Nations Health Authority —

“The planning, design and provision of culturally safe care in the primary care networks by and with First Nations is key to improving health outcomes and tackling systemic racism. The First Nations Elders, traditional practitioners and healers embedded in this network will be critical to the success of this approach to inclusive, culturally relevant team-based care.”

Dr. Kathleen Ross, president, Doctors of BC –

“The best health-care systems in the world have strong primary care, and we hope that the primary care network initiative provides additional needed resources to doctors serving their community, especially those that strengthen longitudinal care in these pandemic times. A primary care network will collectively increase a community’s capacity to provide greater access to primary care for those who need it, especially for vulnerable patients and those with complex health conditions.” 

Michael Sandler, executive director, Nurses and Nurse Practitioners of BC –

“The association of the Nurses and Nurse Practitioners of BC is pleased that the knowledge, skills and expertise of the entire health-care team will improve access to health care for British Columbians through the new primary care networks. We believe that this approach will be pivotal in ensuring B.C. families feel connected to their health-care team, and we are excited to see the launch of primary care networks in B.C."

Dr. Bonnie Bagdan, primary care network lead, Comox Valley Division of Family Practice —

“We, the Comox Valley Division of Family Practice and our members, are excited to be working together with the Ministry of Health, Island Health, First Nations Health Authority, Indigenous health partners, Métis Nation British Columbia and patient partners to address and lead health care transformation in B.C. with a common goal of improving and sustaining health care access, capacity and delivery for our community.”

Barb Whyte, Elder, K’òmoks First Nation —

“I was invited to participate in planning for the Comox Valley Primary Care Network in June 2018, acting as an Indigenous advocate to assist in the creation of a healthy partnership for stronger connections between health deliveries to indigenous peoples and K’òmoks First Nation that anchors respect, in a culturally safe atmosphere that fosters integrity and humility. I have been working alongside the local division of family practice and health leads on an equal footing to help ensure our voices come together to embrace our rich diversities and perspectives to support health care access, capacity and delivery to our Indigenous peoples and K’òmoks First Nation.”

Destinée Barrow, regional health co-ordinator – Vancouver Island, Métis Nation British Columbia —

“We are looking forward to this new and innovative partnership. The primary care network will improve access to services and provide opportunities for the unique needs of Métis people to be addressed in a culturally safe and meaningful way”.

Edna Leask, patient partner, Patient Voices Network —

“As a patient partner, my expectation is that the Comox primary care network will empower patients to have a voice in the care and management of their health and wellness. The network will provide services that are easy to navigate and accessible where the patient’s needs are central and met respectfully by a team of health care professionals who get to know the patient’s story and work with them and their families to improve their experiences and quality of care, resulting in best outcomes.”

Jim Lyster, patient partner, Patient Voices Network –

“I anticipate an approach to medical services that looks at the whole person and streamlines the systems to make a wide variety of professionals centrally available.”