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

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.”

BC HealthBC legislature

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Overhead lights have been installed at the Oliver skatepark so kids can enjoy the park longer during winter hours. (Argon photo)
Community lights up Oliver skatepark, calling it a ‘game changer’ for youth

Both the dog park and Small Wheels Skatepark have lighting now

Forty-seven vaccination clinics will open across Interior Health beginning March 15. (Canadian Press)
48 COVID-19 vaccine clinics to open across Interior Health

Select groups can book appointments starting Monday

Chelsea Ishizuka was borned and raised in Penticton but has now moved to Japan. When she found out there was a popular restaurant there named after Penticton, she had to go check it out. Here she is with the owner (right). (Facebook)
Popular restaurant in Japan named after city of Penticton

A Pentictonite now living in Tokyo discovered the eatery and the history behind its name

There is no true picture of how many youth in Penticton are experiencing housing instability or true homelessness. The Foundry and the city of Penticton are trying to find that out.
How many youth are experiencing homelessness in Penticton?

Foundry Penticton and the City have partnered on a youth survey open until March 13

Five Kelowna writers are featured in an anthology that launched in time for International Women's Day. (Twila Amato - Black Press Media)
International Women’s Day: Book exploring fears features Kelowna writers

The book has launched in time for International Women’s Day

This image provided by Harpo Productions shows Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex, left, in conversation with Oprah Winfrey. (Joe Pugliese/Harpo Productions via AP)
Race, title and anguish: Meghan and Harry explain royal rift

Meghan said she struggled with concerns within the royal family about her son’s skin colour

Const. Allan Young. Photo: Abbotsford Police Department
Manslaughter charge laid in Nelson death of Abbotsford police officer

Allan Young died after an incident in downtown Nelson last summer

Kelowna General Hospital (File photo)
One of two Kelowna General Hospital COVID-19 outbreaks declared over

One outbreak declared over after two deaths, seven cases; another outbreak remains ongoing in the hospital

Cottonwoods Care Home in Kelowna. (Google Maps)
COVID-19 outbreak declared at Kelowna care home after 12 cases noted

Two staff members and 10 residents at Cottonwoods Care Centre have tested positive for COVID-19

Vernon’s Zach Anderson, who now resides in Perth, Australia, has raised awareness and more than $6,400 for the #SickNotWeak charity in regards to depression in honour of friend Justin Mitchell’s late father, Glenn, the former managing editor of the Morning Star. Anderson finished an event in Perth called 4 x 4 x 48, which meant running four miles every four hours for 48 hours. (Zach Anderson photo)
Okanagan runner completes grueling Aussie event in honour of friend’s father

Zach Anderson of Vernon raised funds and depression awareness in memory of former newspaper editor

The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is administered to a personal support worker at the Ottawa Hospital on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020 in Ottawa. Doctors in Alberta have signed an open letter asking for prioritized vaccination of health-care staff who work directly with patients on dedicated COVID-19 units. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
COVID vaccines for seniors in B.C.: Here’s how to sign up

Seniors 90+, Indigenous seniors 65+ and Indigenous Elders can book starting March 8

Coldstream’s Kalamalka Secondary has teamed up with Globox on a fundraising raffle for its graduating class of 2021. (Photo supplied)
Okanagan secondary school grads glowing over fundraiser

Kalamalka Secondary teams with company on fundraising raffle, replacing annual apple pie fundraiser

(The Canadian Press)
‘Worse than Sept. 11, SARS and financial crisis combined’: Tourism industry in crisis

Travel services saw the biggest drop in active businesses with 31 per cent fewer firms operating

Most Read