ADDRESSING HEALTH NEEDS                                Dr. Greg Selinger, left, and Dr. Tim Phillips of the South Okanagan Similkameen Division of Family Practice speak about the new Primary Care network during an announcement in Penticton on Friday.                                (John Arendt/Summerland Review)

ADDRESSING HEALTH NEEDS Dr. Greg Selinger, left, and Dr. Tim Phillips of the South Okanagan Similkameen Division of Family Practice speak about the new Primary Care network during an announcement in Penticton on Friday. (John Arendt/Summerland Review)

Province to bolster number of doctors and medical services in the South Okanagan

Expect six new GPs, five new nurse practitioners and 11 additional health-care professionals.

A primary-care network (PCN) is being created for the South Okanagan Similkameen, bringing additional resources to the region and allowing for planning a new team-based primary-care clinic.

Over the next three years, up to 22 new health-care providers will be recruited to work in the PCN. This includes six new general practitioners, five new nurse practitioners and 11 additional health-care professionals ranging from registered nurses and social workers to a pharmacist.

“We know many people in the South Okanagan Similkameen region are challenged to find consistent primary care,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health.

READ MORE: PEACHLAND’S DOCTORS MOVING OUT OF THE DISTRICT

“Creating a primary-care network in Summerland, Penticton and Okanagan Falls is a step forward in providing thousands of residents in the region with access to the comprehensive primary-care services they need and deserve. Over time, we will bring more communities to the network, so more people across the region can have easier and faster access to quality health care.”

With the new and existing providers, the PCN will improve access to care and strengthen support for patients and providers to attach thousands of patients in the South Okanagan Similkameen to regular primary care, starting in the communities of Summerland, Penticton and Okanagan Falls. Over time, the PCN will expand to include Oliver, Osoyoos, Keremeos, Princeton and surrounding First Nations communities.

“What we’re delivering today will make life better here,” Dix said.

The PCN will work toward opening a new team-based care clinic in Penticton, Summerland and Okanagan Falls, which is anticipated to open in 2020. The clinic will provide extended hours of service and help address a portion of the attachment needs in the community.

By expanding hours of care, the new network will alleviate pressures on emergency rooms. Dix said one in five patients visiting emergency rooms could be getting better care elsewhere.

The three communities have a combined population of 57,746 and are expected to grow to 60,040 by 2024 and 63,593 by 2032.

Dr. Greg Selinger, board chair with the South Okanagan Similkameen Division of Family Practice, said it is becoming increasingly difficult for residents in the region to find a family doctor.

“We’re not able to keep up,” he said, explaining that doctors are retiring while the population is increasing. “In the next while, we’re expecting quite a few retirements.”

“As physicians, we want the best for our patients and are excited for everyone in our community to have access to primary care,” said Dr. Tim Phillips, vice-chair and physician lead with the South Okanagan Similkameen Division of Family Practice.

READ MORE: PENTICTON PAIN RESEARCH SUPPORTED

The new services will be integrated over the next three years with over 50 general practitioners located in 20 existing primary-care clinics in Penticton, Summerland and Okanagan Falls, and will expand to include additional clinics and practitioners in the surrounding communities. The network will 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.

“Previously, primary-care providers often worked in silos, shouldering the workload and administrative duties,” said Dix. “By linking primary-care providers in networks we will help to put the patient at the centre of their own care and reduce the workload and stress that providers face.”

Chad Eneas, chief of the Penticton Indian Band, said the new initiative will improve health care in the region.

“I think we can be more effective through collaboration with each other,” he said. “It addresses some of the gaps in our community an in health care.”

READ MORE: MORE DOCTORS IN LAKE COUNTRY

The PCN will focus on the specific needs of the community and improve health services identified as high priority for the community, including:

  • enhanced access to regular, extended and after-hours services for comprehensive primary care;
  • provision of team-based care through an interdisciplinary team of allied health professionals; and
  • increased access to both primary-care practices.

The PCN will operate in close partnership and collaboration with the South Okanagan Similkameen Division of Family Practice, local First Nations and Interior Health. PCNs are also being implemented in Fraser northwest communities and in Burnaby.

The provincial government is providing approximately $4.4 million in annual funding to the South Okanagan Similkameen region by the third year, as net new positions are added and patients are attached.

To report a typo, email:
newstips@kelownacapnews.com
.


@KelownaNewsKat
kmichaels@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

 

COLLABORATIVE EFFORT                                Chief Chad Eneas of the Penticton Indian Band said the new Primary Care Network is an example of a collaboration to improve health care delivery.                                (John Arendt/Summerland Review)

COLLABORATIVE EFFORT Chief Chad Eneas of the Penticton Indian Band said the new Primary Care Network is an example of a collaboration to improve health care delivery. (John Arendt/Summerland Review)

Just Posted

A Sycamore Road home in Kelowna has been cordoned as police conduct an investigation after a man was found dead at the residence at around 1:30 a.m. on June 17. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna RCMP investigate death at ‘house from hell’

RCMP said that the incident is isolated in nature

(Contributed)
Kelowna’s Uber hopes dashed by transportation board COVID-19 inquiry — for now

Passenger Transportation Board puts Uber’s application to expand on hold

Scooters lined up for an educational event in Stuart Park on Wednesday, June 16. (Amandalina Letterio/Capital News)
Free e-scooter safety training in Kelowna

Shared e-scooter operators collaborate to educate riders

The suspect reportedly assaulted a security guard and robbed him. The incident happened at a Kelowna hotel. (Contributed)
People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

Jeanette Megens
KCR: Volunteering is sharing your story

Kelowna Community Resources shares stories of its volunteers in a weekly column

Salmon Arm’s Brook Kosick competes in the barrel racing event at a BC High School Rodeo Association rodeo in Quesnel, which was held from June 11-13, 2021. (Cassidy Dankochik - Black Press)
VIDEO: Shuswap rodeo athlete barrels through competition

Salmon Arm rider Brook Kosick thrilled to compete in provincial finals

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A vehicle was fully engulfed in flames before around 11:10 p.m. Wednesday, June 16, 2021. (Kerry Hutter - contributed)
VIDEO: Car fire snuffed in Coldstream

Vernon firefighters douse late-night fire near popular lake lookout

Dan Albas
COLUMN: Reopening the international border

Governments in Canada and the United States are working towards reopening plans for the border

John Kromhoff with some of the many birthday cards he received from ‘pretty near every place in the world’ after the family of the Langley centenarian let it be known that he wasn’t expecting many cards for his 100th birthday. (Special to Langley Advance Times)
Cards from all over the world flood in for B.C. man’s 100th birthday

An online invitation by his family produced a flood of cards to mark his 100th birthday

FILE – Nurse Iciar Bercian prepares a shot at a vaccine clinic for the homeless in Calgary, Alta., Wednesday, June 2, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
B.C. scientists to study effectiveness of COVID vaccines in people with HIV

People living with HIV often require higher doses of other vaccines

Most Read