Primary care network to improve health-care access in South Surrey/White Rock. (Pixabay photo)

Primary care network to improve health-care access in South Surrey/White Rock. (Pixabay photo)

Primary care networks to boost access, support in South Surrey/White Rock

Ministry of Health allocates $4 million in annual funding

The provincial government is promising South Surrey and White Rock residents improved access to health care as part of a B.C.-wide effort to establish primary care networks.

Benefits include that patients who do not have a family doctor or nurse practitioner will be able to get one, a news release issued Tuesday (Sept. 15) states. As well, services for mental health clients with a mild to moderate condition are to be enhanced, as is access to primary care services for vulnerable patients.

Once established, the Ministry of Health – which has partnered locally with Fraser Health and the White Rock-South Surrey Division of Family Practice – will provide approximately $4 million annually to the network.

“Over the next four years, residents of White Rock and South Surrey will benefit from more than 28 full-time equivalent health professionals who will provide people with better access to primary care,” the release states.

“These health-care providers include family physicians, registered nurses, and allied health professionals such as social workers, patient educators, mental health clinicians and a pharmacist. In addition, the primary care network will increase access to counselling services.

“For people and families, it means getting faster, better access to their primary care team or provider, even on evenings and weekends, as well as being connected to appropriate services and supports in the community.”

Over the next four years, the network will work to attach 8,900 patients to a consistent primary care provider, while also providing “team-based and culturally safe” care to local residents. A combined population of approximately 115,000 will be supported, the release adds.

An additional statement from the White Rock-South Surrey Division of Family Practice adds that the local primary care network will begin implementing its expanded team-based health care with three registered nurses, two social workers, one patient educator and counselling services.

Division board chair Dr. Tahmeena Ali described the commitment to primary care across the region in recent months as “unprecedented.”

READ MORE: South Surrey physician recognized by peers

“We are jubilant to be part of the latest wave of communities to offer enhanced primary care to keep our community healthy and to ensure when medical care is needed, it is done with ease for both patients and providers,” Ali said in the initial release.

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