The province has committed approximately $6.5 million in annual funding to improve health care for people who don’t have family doctors in the Cowichan Valley.
The Ministry of Health has announced that it intends to establish a primary-care network that will bring additional resources and strengthened support to the region.
The network in Cowichan is one of 22 new primary care networks that are being launched across 13 regions to provide health care for British Columbians who do not have family doctors.
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 local communities.
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, according to a press release from the ministry.
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 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.
Over the next four years, the network will attach 16,750 patients to a consistent primary care provider in the region, while providing team-based and culturally-safe care to local residents.
Health Minister Adrian Dix said as part of the government’s primary care strategy, it is 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,” he said.
“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 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.