Four networks of team-based primary-care providers in Fraser northwest communities

Adrian Dix
Photo by Chandra Bodalia

THE government announced on Sunday that it is transforming everyday health care for people living in Fraser northwest communities by establishing four networks of team-based primary-care providers, which will bring additional resources and strengthened support to the region.

Over the next three years, across the four networks in the Fraser northwest region, up to 65 new health-care providers will be recruited. This includes 12 new doctors, 12 new nurse practitioners and 41 additional health-care professionals ranging from registered nurses, to allied health-care professionals and clinical pharmacists.

These networks, known as primary-care networks (PCNs), will see community partners work to attach tens of thousands of patients in Anmore, Belcarra, Coquitlam, Kwikwetlem First Nation, New Westminster, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody and Qayqayt First Nation to regular primary care.

“Team-based care that responds to the needs of each community, as identified by those working in them, is going to be the backbone of the new primary-care system in B.C. and will be how patients’ everyday health-care needs are met today, tomorrow and beyond,” said Health Minister Adrian Dix. “These networks will work together to address long-standing gaps in everyday health care, starting for people living in the communities making up the fraser northwest region.

There are 43 primary-care clinics – or 90% of clinics – participating in the PCN, with 355 general practitioners. The networks partner new and existing health-care professionals with the health authority and community organizations as part of a networked, team-based approach to providing care.

“I am proud that 90% of existing clinics are participating in the networks. This extraordinary level of community involvement will go a long way to strengthening care in the region,” added Dix.

Each network will provide a full range of accessible, everyday health services, from maternity to end-of-life care, that will better support patients and providers. These four networks will be the Port Coquitlam PCN, North Coquitlam and Port Moody/Anmore/Belcarra PCN, New Westminster PCN, and Southwest and Southeast Coquitlam PCN.

The Fraser northwest networks were developed to better meet the specific needs of the community. The networks will strengthen services identified as high priority. These include:

* pre- and post-natal services, care and assessments;

* improved access to mild to moderate mental-health and substance-use services; and

* better co-ordinated services for seniors who are frail and people with complex health issues.

This will mean mothers and babies born in the region and seniors with complex care needs will be attached to a primary-care provider, without having to use a walk-in clinic or emergency department for everyday health care. People in need of mental-health supports will have better access to the right care from the right provider with improved connection to specialized services provided by health authorities.

“The Fraser northwest primary networks will make it easier for people with mental-health and substance-use challenges to ask for help once and get help fast,” said Judy Darcy, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. “Integrating all aspects of health into primary care also helps to reduce stigma – and it means people will be able to get the support they need, when they need it.”

Forty-three clinics will initially participate in the networks, over 90% of clinics in the region, with more clinics coming on board at a later time.

In addition to clinical resources, the Fraser northwest primary-care networks will include support resources for Kwikwetlem First Nation, including First Nations support workers and weekly sessions with primary-care providers who will provide care to the community.

“The creation of teams and increased attachment rates have been developed with the health-care professionals and service agencies at a community level. As a result, this is a plan that is reflective and responsive to the care needs of the people they serve, and it will build and refine over time as recruitment and services ramp up,” said Dix.

The Ministry of Health will provide approximately $12 million in annual funding to the fraser northwest region by the third year, as these net new positions are added and patients are attached.