Faster, better access to team-based primary care coming to Prince George
April 17, 2019
PRINCE GEORGE – People in Prince George will soon have better access to team-based everyday health care, with the new Prince George Urgent and Primary Care Centre (UPCC) anticipated to open in June 2019 and the launch of a primary-care network (PCN).
“This primary-care network and urgent primary-care centre will connect people in Prince George with better, faster health care,” said Premier John Horgan. “With more than 30 new health-care professionals joining the community to deliver team-based care, people will benefit from greater access to health care, helping them lead healthier lives.”
Together, the PCN and UPCC will recruit more than 30 new health-care providers over the next three years. This includes 26 nursing and allied health-care professionals, one general practitioner, two nurse practitioners, one clinical pharmacist, an Elder to ensure cultural safety and and two new resources to support extended access to lab services in the community.
This is a community-supported initiative, with 100% of the region’s existing clinics working collaboratively in the primary-care network. All of Prince George’s 32 primary-care clinics and two community health centres will work together to provide team-based care to the entire population.
“The urgent and primary-care centre and the primary-care network in Prince George will ensure the health needs of people living in the community and the surrounding areas are met in a faster, more comprehensive and efficient way,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “New services will include extended hours of care, teams of interdisciplinary health-care professionals and attachment opportunities, which will offer a solution for the approximately 2,000 people in Prince George who do not have a consistent primary-care provider.”
The network will include Prince George and the surrounding area, including the community of Lheidli T’enneh. New and existing health-care professionals will work collaboratively together and with health authority and community organizations to provide team-based care to the entire population of Prince George.
The urgent and primary-care clinic centre will be located in the Parkwood Place Mall, 1600 15th Ave. Through the PCN and the UPCC, comprehensive, team-based care will be provided to the 87,500 people residing in Prince George and surrounding area. At full capacity, the new centre is expected to add capacity for 8,000 additional patient visits per year for both urgent and primary-care appointments.
The centre will offer drop-in team-based care in the evenings and weekends for people with non-life-threatening conditions who need to see a health-care provider within 12 to 24 hours but do not require the level of expertise found in emergency departments. During the weekdays, providers will be available on-site to provide follow-up care and care coordination through scheduled appointments.
The urgent and primary-care centre will be staffed by general practitioners from the community and be supported by nursing and allied health professionals to address patients’ health-care needs in one setting. A nurse practitioner, mental-health and substance-use clinician and primary-care nurse will provide care at the centre during the day.
“We are transforming our provincial primary-care system, so it is more focused on a team-based approach that will best respond to the needs of communities throughout the province, including in Prince George,” Dix said. “The network is part of our primary-care strategy to strengthen services and improve access to everyday health care, and will be how patients are treated today, tomorrow and in the future.”
The network was developed to better meet the specific needs of the community and improve health services identified as high priority for the community. These include:
- improved access to team-based care for patients and families to improve health and well-being;
- strengthened primary-care services for people without a regular primary-care provider with a focus on Indigenous peoples, as they currently have a lower rate of attachment in the community; and
- culturally safe, wraparound primary-care outreach services provided to the most vulnerable unattached patients through the Blue Pine Community Health Centre.
As part of this work, a new outreach primary-care program will be established. Based out of Prince George’s two community health centres, Central Interior Native Health and the Blue Pine Clinic, health-care providers will reach out to the community to bring primary-care to patients where ever they are. The First Nations Health Authority, Northern Health and the Division of Family Practice are also working together to establish a mobile support team to deliver mental-wellness services to First Nations communities in the Prince George region.
The provincial government will provide approximately $4.7 million in annual funding by the third year to the Prince George network, including the new urgent and primary-care centre as net new positions are added and patients are attached.
Primary-care networks are also being implemented in Fraser northwest communities, Burnaby and South Okanagan Similkameen.
The PCN in Prince George and new UPCC support additional provincial actions to strengthen health care in the region. The Quesnel Urgent and Primary Care Centre opened on Oct. 31, 2018. Since then, the centre has had 938 patient visits. With government’s new surgical and diagnostic strategy, people living in Prince George and northern British Columbia will have reduced wait times for hip and knee surgeries, and a 70% increase in magnetic resonance imaging exams.
In addition, work is underway to improve several hospitals in northern B.C., including significant steps to build new hospitals in Terrace and Fort St. John, a redeveloped and expanded Dawson Creek and District Hospital, and a new emergency department and intensive care unit at G.R. Baker Memorial Hospital in Quesnel.
To learn more about the Province’s primary health-care strategy, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2018PREM0034-001010
Three backgrounders follow.
What people are saying about team-based care
Colleen Nyce, board chair, Northern Health —
“We believe that an integrated system of primary and community care is foundational to a strong and vibrant health-care system in the North. We are very pleased to be a partner with health-care professionals, the Prince George Division of Family Practice and the First Nations Health Authority in this endeavour. We are grateful to the Province of B.C. for making this opportunity available to the people of Prince George.”
Dr. Eric Cadesky, 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 needed resources to doctors serving their community. 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.”
Sue Peck, director and NP council president, BC Nurses and Nurse Practitioners of British Columbia —
“Nurses and Nurse Practitioners of B.C. are pleased to see that the knowledge, skills and expertise of the entire health-care team will be utilized to improve access to health care for all 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. Garry Knoll, chair of the board, Prince George Division of Family Practice —
“The Prince George Division of Family Practice is very excited for this opportunity to co-lead the development of a primary care network and an urgent and primary care centre. The PCN and the UPCC will bring needed team-based care resources to Prince George and help us build on the solid foundation of full scope family practice that the physicians in this community have been working on for many years.”
Prince George Urgent and Primary-Care Clinic
The new urgent and primary-care centre in Prince George is a partnership between the Ministry of Health, Northern Health, the Prince George Division of Family Practice, Doctors of BC and First Nations Health Authority.
- The urgent and primary-care clinic will be located in the Parkwood Place Mall, 1600 15th Ave.
- By June 2019, the centre will be open to the public for drop in urgent-care services between Monday and Tuesday from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.; Wednesday to Friday from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. and all-day Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
- The centre will also offer follow-up services during the day from Monday to Friday to urgent and primary-care patients, as recommended by the urgent and primary-care team.
- Along with general primary care, services will also be available for marginalized or vulnerable individuals who may struggle to make or keep appointments with their regular primary-care provider, including mental health professionals.
- Annual staffing and operating costs are projected at approximately $1 million. One-time startup costs are estimated at $200,000.
- Primary care is the day-to-day health care given by a health-care provider.
- Urgent primary care is the care that people need within 12 to 24 hours, for conditions such as sprains, urinary problems, ear infections, minor cuts or burns.
- This is the province’s eighth urgent and primary-care centre to be announced. Centres also exist in Kamloops, Quesnel, Victoria’s West Shore, Surrey, Vancouver’s downtown/west end, Burnaby and Nanaimo.
Prince George primary-care network
The Prince George primary-care network is a partnership between the Ministry of Health, Northern Health, the Prince George Division of Family Practice, First Nations Health Authority, Central Interior Native Health Society and the Lheidli T’enneh First Nation.
The network consists of Prince George, surrounding areas and the community of Lheidli T’enneh. The Prince George local health area has a population of approximately 91,000 and is expected to increase to over 92,000 by 2024.
Through the network, all of Prince George’s 32 primary-care clinics and two community health centres will be working together to provide team-based care to the entire population.
With the new and existing providers, the network will improve access to care, strengthen support for patients and providers, and community partners will work to attach 2,000 patients in Prince George to regular primary care over the next three years.
New resources being allocated include:
Prince George community health centres:
- Blue Pine Clinic and Central Interior Native Health Society Community Health Centres: one general practitioner, one nurse practitioner and one Elder who will provide primary-care services, five days a week.
- Working together, they will provide culturally safe and appropriate care to approximately 700 new complex and vulnerable patients over the next three years.
- Twenty-five nursing and allied health professionals and one clinical pharmacist will provide quality, comprehensive team-based care to Prince George and help facilitate attaching an additional 1,300 patients to a primary-care provider over the next three years.
Primary-care network management:
- One manager and one administrative support worker.
How people can access primary-care networks:
- A provincial website will be established for the networks to provide information to patients, including which clinics are part of the network, services provided and hours of operation, as well as how to access services and become attached to a practice.
- Each network will actively communicate with its community as it grows its services so that people living in the community know how and where to access the health services they need.
Primary-care network attributes include:
- processes to ensure all people in a community have access to quality primary care and are attached within a primary-care network;
- provision of extended hours of care, including early mornings, evenings and weekends;
- provision of same-day access for urgently needed care through the primary-care network or an urgent and primary-care centre;
- access to advice and information virtually (e.g., online, text and email) and face to face;
- provision of comprehensive primary-care services through networking of primary-care providers and teams, to include maternity, inpatient, residential, mild/moderate mental health and substance use, and preventative care;
- co-ordination of care with diagnostic services, hospital care, specialty care and specialized community services for all patients, with a particular emphasis on those with mental-health and substance-use conditions, those with complex medical conditions and/or frailty and surgical services provided in community;
- clear communication within the network of providers and to the public to create awareness about appropriate use of services; and
- care that is culturally safe and appropriate.
Ministry of Health
250 952-1887 (media line)