Health Minister Adrian Dix announced Sept. 15, 2020 that B.C. will soon have 22 primary care networks, including three in Chilliwack and the Fraser Canyon. (File photo: Malin Jordan)

Three new primary care networks to boost health in Chilliwack, Fraser Canyon

New care networks will comprise 67 health care professionals over 22 First Nations communities

Health care is about to get a big boost all the way from Chilliwack to the Fraser Canyon.

The ministry of health is injecting $11.5 million in annual funding to three new primary care networks that will service Chilliwack, Hope, District of Kent, Harrison Hot Springs and communities in the Fraser Canyon, including 22 First Nation communities. The list of health services professionals to be hired include general practitioners, nurse practitioners, registered nurses, allied health professionals, traditional healers and a clinical pharmacist.

In total, they amount to 67 health professionals.

Adrian Dix, minister of health, says the influx of supports in the area will transform everyday health care for everyone in the region. It’s part of a push throughout the province to establish primary care networks across the province.

“For too long, people throughout B.C. have been struggling to access the primary, regular health care they need, when they need them most. Through our primary care strategy, we are transforming our health care system and are making life better for everyone,” Dix said. “For people in Chilliwack, this means adding more health professionals in the community to provide better access to a seamless patient-centred primary care experience, closer to home.”

The three primary care networks will be referred to as Chilliwack North, Chilliwack South and Fraser Health Rural PCNs.

READ MORE: B.C. First Nations Health Authority launches virtual doctor program

The Chilliwack North and South PCNs are the home of Aitchelitz, Kwaw-kwaw-Aplit, Shxwha:y Village, Skowkale (Sq’ewqéyl), Skwah, Soowahlie, Squiala First Nation, Tzeachten (Ch’i:yàqtel), and Yakweakwioose First Nation communities. The Fraser Health Rural PCN is the home of Boothroyd, Boston Bar, Chawathil, Cheam, Chehalis (Sts’ailes), Peters Band, Popkum, Seabird Island, Shxw’ōwhámél First Nation, Skawahlook FN (Sq’ewá:lxw), Spuzzum, Union Bar, and Yale First Nation communities.

The goal of a PCN is to provide comprehensive, team-based primary care services for day-to-day health-care needs in the region. That will include culturally safe care for Indigenous people, among other benefits.

The ministry partnered with Fraser Health, the Chilliwack Division of Family Practice and the First Nations Health Authority.

Dr. Joshua Greggain, chairperson of the Chilliwack Division of Family Practice said the network will be able to handle the geographic challenges of the area.

“With a varied geography that includes an urban and suburban population in Chilliwack, rural communities of Agassiz, Harrison Hot Springs, Hope and Boston Bar, as well as 22 First Nation communities across the region, we have created a plan to improve access to primary care services and will include novel team-based care into to a mosaic of allied health care offerings,” he said. “These three PCNs will provide transformational change in an already robust primary care system, built on a foundation of family physicians, nurse practitioners, allied health-care workers and community partners. We believe the future of our PCNs has the potential to further support our providers, our patients, and communities, for exceptional health care in our region.”

READ MORE: B.C. to launch 22 primary care networks to provide team-based health care


@CHWKcommunity
jpeters@theprogress.com

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