Emergency rooms in B.C. are getting the overflow from a shortage of family doctors. (Black Press files)

B.C. primary care aims to reduce swelling in hospital ER

Patients without family doctor diverted to urgent treatment teams

Future family doctors are being matched with patients who head for the nearest emergency room because they don’t have an alternative for rapid treatment of non-emergency conditions.

The Urgent Primary Care Centre at Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops is the pilot project for B.C.’s primary care strategy, seeing nearly 1,000 people since it opened in June. Health Minister Adrian Dix announced Monday the facility is expanding with a “family practice learning centre” to connect patients with University of B.C. medical residents for treatment.

Patients are referred through the Healthlink BC waitlist for Kamloops, with priority given to people who don’t have a family doctor or nurse practitioner and who need immediate attention. Dix says the system is designed to deal with current need and also build up team-based care in communities with a chronic shortage of family doctors.

“It increases the number of opportunities for medical residents to be trained and supported in team-based care in Kamloops,” Dix said Monday. “This provides the foundation for these new physicians to continue serving patients in this region going forward.”

RELATED: B.C. launches plan to tackle doctor shortage

Dix and Premier John Horgan announced the primary care strategy in May, funding up to 200 new general practitioners to work in a new team-based care model. The first five communities to get teams are Comox, South Okanagan-Similkameen, Prince George, Richmond and Burnaby.

The team-based care approach was part of the minority government agreement between the NDP and the B.C. Green Party, with a promise to have 10 urgent primary care centres within the next year. The government’s goal is to offer team-based primary care in 70 per cent of B.C. communities by 2021.

“The overall goals of the family practice learning centre model are to build family-care capacity in the community, provide access through timely appointments, help patients find a primary care provider and promote team-based health care,” said Dr. Selena Lawrie, clinical instructor with UBC’s family medicine program. “The model creates the opportunity for patients to be attached to the clinic for their immediate follow-up care. Patients could potentially then transfer from the clinic if a family practice resident chooses to open his or her own practice at the end of training.”

Just Posted

Children’s discovery centre, new restaurant planned for RJ Haney Heritage Villlage

Board asks Salmon Arm council for a $25,000 contribution, will be decided at budget time

Seven Shuswap residents receive bravery medals for their actions during church shooting

Four silver medals, three bronze medals awarded locally among 35 throughout B.C.

Music in the air soon with treble clef unveiling in downtown Salmon Arm

Plans include closing Alexander Street on Nov. 2 for celebrations with entertainers, food

IN PHOTOS: RJ Haney’s “Spooktacular” Heritage Village

This year marks the event’s 25th installment

Rain in forecast for Okanagan-Shuswap region

Mixed bag of clouds, sun and showers forecast for the week ahead

B.C. woman must pay $1,000 after her unleashed dog bites Muffin

Owner should never have left Bibi unattended, tribunal member wrote

Halloween musical creeps onto the Summerland Community Arts Centre stage

Tracy Fehr and the Voice Studio Singers perform on Oct. 25.

Vernon player wins ATP tour event, named to Davis Cup squad

Vasek Pospisil joins Raonic, Shapovalov and Auger-Aliassime in representing Canada

Sicamous Eagles upset Princeton Posse with 5-0 shut out

A one-game weekend yielded satisfying results for the Sicamous Eagles. The Junior… Continue reading

Climate activist Greta Thunberg’s mural defaced in Edmonton

The eyes on the portrait were blacked out

LETTER: Middle class better off with Trudeau’s child benefit boost

It’s a transfer, not a tax cut, but it helps families get ahead

Report suggests new BC Ferries terminal near YVR

Metro Vancouver currently has two ferry terminals at northern and southern reaches

B.C. scouting group’s tent destroyed by black bear on Thanksgiving

The Richmond-based Sea Dragon Sea Scouts were camping at Mount Seymour Provincial Park

Most Read