May 24, 2018

Team-based strategy will ensure faster and more appropriate care

Vancouver, BC – Unceded Coast Salish Territories 

The BC government announced today a major investment in the new primary health care strategy to improve access for British Columbians. Team-based care is central to the new primary health care strategy. This announcement indicates a change of approach and a system-wide transformation of primary care.

Primary health care is a major priority for BCHC members. Over the past few months, the BC Health Coalition has been actively working with Ministry of Health on primary health care. The BCHC has been a strong advocate for community and patient participation in health care development.

“Primary health care is not one size fits all. People need to be able to access the type of health care worker that can best address their needs–this might be a physiotherapist, a social worker, a pharmacist, or a doctor,” says Edith MacHattie, BC Health Coalition co-chair. “Providing team-based care will better meet the needs of British Columbians.”

As part of the new strategy, the BC government is implementing primary care networks, urgent care centres and community health centres.

At the heart of this new vision, team-based care will be rolled out through primary care networks. Burnaby, Comox, Prince George, Richmond and South Okanagan Similkameen are the first five communities where they are rolling out this new initiative. The networks will be across 70% of B.C. communities, including many smaller and rural populations.

“Improving access to primary health care for British Columbians outside of the Lower Mainland and in rural communities is overdue and we’re looking forward to the rollout of these programs,” says Rick Turner, BC Health Coalition co-chair. “We’re thrilled that this government is doing the hard work to transform primary health care.”

Additionally, as part of the announcement today, the government is creating opportunities for doctors to work in team-based care models. Funding will be provided for up to 200 new general practitioners to work in team-based care.

The BC Health Coalition will continue to work with the Ministry of Health and advocate for community participation and evidence-based models as these services and programs are developed.

Read the full BC government release here.