B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan at announcement of primary care networks for people without a family doctor, May 24, 2018. (B.C. government)

Pharmacists to be added to B.C. primary care teams

Shift to salaried medical professionals overdue, Adrian Dix says

The B.C. government is hiring 50 clinical pharmacists to work in its province-wide primary health care teams, the NDP government’s key strategy for treating people without access to a family doctor.

The increase in complex, chronic health conditions means that one in five people over the age of 70 are taking five or more medications a day, Health Minister Adrian Dix said Tuesday at an announcement at UBC medical school.

“Embedding a clinical pharmacist in a patient’s primary-care team reduces the risk of adverse drug reactions, which rises with the complexity of the condition, a patient’s frailty, age and the number of medications prescribed,” Dix said.

Primary care networks are being established in 15 communities by this time next year, beginning in South Okanagan-Similkameen, Comox, Prince George, Richmond and Burnaby. The target is to establish them in 70 per cent of B.C. communities over the next three years.

Dix said B.C. is lagging behind other jurisdictions in shifting to a primary care model, which in B.C. includes funding for up to 200 new general practitioners working in team-based care.

The plan includes “urgent primary care centres” for people who do not have access to a family doctor or nurse practitioner. The 10 centres to be established by next year will provide weekend and after-hours care to take pressure off hospital emergency departments.

The current health ministry budget also includes 200 new nurse practitioner positions and 30 additional training spaces for nurse practitioners. Adding pharmacists to the teams is budgeted for $23 million over three years.

Dix said the primary care system will be a particular benefit to rural regions of the province, where innovations in care such as video conferencing have been used, and nurse practitioners have filled the gap in physician access.

RELATED: Primary care a shift for B.C. health system

RELATED: Northern Health faces nurse shortage

The approach has been endorsed by the Doctors of B.C. and the B.C. Nurse Practitioner Association.

“Networking with other professionals will allow doctors to focus more on direct patient care, enhancing the physician-patient relationship,” said Dr. Trina Larsen Soles, president of the Doctors of B.C.

Just Posted

Unregulated private land logging continues near Nelson at Cottonwood Lake

Sunshine Logging of Kaslo is cutting on private land in the area of Giveout Creek Road

Marijuana to be legal in Canada Oct. 17: Trudeau

Prime Minister made the announcement during question period in the House of Commons

Torch lit in Cranbrook to start countdown to BC 55+ Games

The Kimberley/Cranbrook 2018 55+ BC Games will take place Sept. 11-15

Aboriginal Day in Trail

Passion, pride and culture were on brilliant display at Gyro Park on Sunday

30 degrees and warmer forecasted with heat wave in B.C.

The weather could stay well into next week, according to Environment Canada

In reversal, Trump signs executive order to stop family separation

President had been wrongly insisting he had no choice but to separate families apprehended at border

UPDATED: Polygamous wife appeals conviction in B.C. child bride case

Emily Blackmore was found guilty of taking her underage daughter to U.S. to marry church leader

Nelson conference will explore climate change and wildfire

Three day gathering in Nelson runs June 26-28

B.C. sets deadline for Indigenous salmon farm consent

All 120 operations will need agreements by 2022, province says

Family of 4 from Oregon believed to be missing in northern B.C.

RCMP, Search and Rescue crews searching area where vehicle was abandoned

Signs mark Japanese Canadian internment history in Kootenays

Three signs have been installed in Kaslo, New Denver and Slocan

B.C. creates public registry to track real estate owners

The first registry of its kind in Canada aims to end the hidden property ownership

Police watchdog called to Kelowna after car destroyed in crash

A motor vehicle incident has closed Highway 33 in both directions

BC SPCA receives 400 reports of dogs in hot cars so far this year

Society is again urging people to leave their pets at home if they can’t keep them safe in the heat

Most Read