Some of the estimated 40,000 Burnaby residents who can’t find a family doctor could soon find easier access after the province announced it was setting up team-based networks designed to link patients with health services.
B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix was in Burnaby this morning (Thursday) along with Burnaby-Edmonds MLA Raj Chouhan to announce the launch of three new “primary care networks” and one “urgent primary care centre.”
The initiative will also recruit approximately 68 new health-care providers over the next three years to meet demand. This includes 10 general practitioners, 10 new nurse practitioners, three clinical pharmacists and 45 nursing and allied health-care professionals.
“We want people to be able to get the care in their communities and not end up in the emergency department because they have no options,” Dix said.
The new networks will be located in the communities of Brentwood-Hastings, Edmonds and Metrotown, with a fourth PCN set to open in the Lougheed area in the future.
The Ministry of Health will provide the Burnaby networks and UPCC with approximately $12 million in annual operating funding by their third year.
“I’m very proud of the work here in Burnaby, which I think is at the leading edge of health-care in Canada,” Dix said.
Board chair of the Burnaby division of family practice, Dr. Charlene Lui, said the PCNs will help bring together clinical teams, including dieticians, pharmacists and counsellors, to support patients.
“We look forward to making our shared, collective vision a reality for Burnaby,”
The Burnaby UPCC, which will be located within the Edmonds PCN, will open in two phases in May. The first phase will include extended hours of service and will increase access to team-based care. The second will expand to include an incubator clinic in the fall which will allow experienced family physicians to mentor new family physicians and will work to match those without family care providers with one in their community.
The Metrotown PCN, once fully developed, will also receive an incubator clinic.
The Burnaby UPCC is the second centre to be opened in B.C. The first centre was opened in Surrey and it has now seen more than 4,000 patients, Dix said.