BC Government: Next big step in primary-care transformation launches

Feb. 24, 2019

PORT MOODY – Government is transforming everyday health care for people living in Fraser northwest communities by establishing four networks of team-based primary-care providers, which will bring additional resources and strengthened support to the region.

Over the next three years, across the four networks in the Fraser northwest region, up to 65 new health-care providers will be recruited. This includes 12 new doctors, 12 new nurse practitioners and 41 additional health-care professionals ranging from registered nurses, to allied health-care professionals and clinical pharmacists.

These networks, known as primary-care networks (PCNs), will see community partners work to attach tens of thousands of patients in Anmore, Belcarra, Coquitlam, Kwikwetlem First Nation, New Westminster, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody and Qayqayt First Nation to regular primary care.

“Team-based care that responds to the needs of each community, as identified by those working in them, is going to be the backbone of the new primary-care system in B.C. and will be how patients’ everyday health-care needs are met today, tomorrow and beyond,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “These networks will work together to address long-standing gaps in everyday health care, starting for people living in the communities making up the Fraser northwest region.

There are 43 primary-care clinics – or 90% of clinics – participating in the PCN, with 355 general practitioners. The networks 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.

“I am proud that 90% of existing clinics are participating in the networks. This extraordinary level of community involvement will go a long way to strengthening care in the region,” added Dix.

Each network will provide a full range of accessible, everyday health services, from maternity to end-of-life care, that will better support patients and providers. These four networks will be the Port Coquitlam PCN, North Coquitlam and Port Moody/Anmore/Belcarra PCN, New Westminster PCN, and Southwest and Southeast Coquitlam PCN.

The Fraser northwest networks were developed to better meet the specific needs of the community. The networks will strengthen services identified as high priority. These include:

  • pre- and post-natal services, care and assessments;
  • improved access to mild to moderate mental-health and substance-use services; and
  • better co-ordinated services for seniors who are frail and people with complex health issues.

This will mean mothers and babies born in the region and seniors with complex care needs will be attached to a primary-care provider, without having to use a walk-in clinic or emergency department for everyday health care. People in need of mental-health supports will have better access to the right care from the right provider with improved connection to specialized services provided by health authorities.

“The Fraser northwest primary networks will make it easier for people with mental-health and substance-use challenges to ask for help once and get help fast,” said Judy Darcy, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. “Integrating all aspects of health into primary care also helps to reduce stigma – and it means people will be able to get the support they need, when they need it.”

Forty-three clinics will initially participate in the networks, over 90% of clinics in the region, with more clinics coming on board at a later time.

In addition to clinical resources, the Fraser northwest primary-care networks will include support resources for Kwikwetlem First Nation, including First Nations support workers and weekly sessions with primary-care providers who will provide care to the community.

“The creation of teams and increased attachment rates have been developed with the health-care professionals and service agencies at a community level. As a result, this is a plan that is reflective and responsive to the care needs of the people they serve, and it will build and refine over time as recruitment and services ramp up,” said Dix.

The Ministry of Health will provide approximately $12 million in annual funding to the Fraser northwest region by the third year, as these net new positions are added and patients are attached.

Quick Facts:

  • The Fraser northwest primary-care networks are a partnership between the Ministry of Health, Fraser Health, the Fraser Northwest Division of Family Practice, and Kwikwetlem First Nation.
  • Primary-care network attributes include:
    • processes to ensure all people in a community have access to quality primary care and are attached within a PCN;
    • provision of extended hours of care, including early mornings, evenings and weekends;
    • provision of same-day access for urgently needed care through the PCN or an urgent primary-care centre;
    • access to advice and information virtually (e.g., online, text, e-mail) and face to face;
    • provision of comprehensive primary-care services through networking of primary-care providers and teams, to include maternity, inpatient, residential, mild/moderate mental health and substance use, and preventative care;
    • co-ordination of care with diagnostic services, hospital care, specialty care and specialized community services for all patients and with particular emphasis on those with mental-health and substance-use conditions, those with complex medical conditions and/or frailty and surgical services provided in community;
    • clear communication within the network of providers and to the public to create awareness about appropriate use of services; and
    • care that is culturally safe and appropriate.
  • Websites will be established for each of the networks to provide information to patients, including which clinics are part of the network, services provided and hours of operation, as well as how to access services and become attached to a practice.
  • Each network will actively communicate with its community as it grows its services so that people living in the community know how and where to access the health services they need.

Learn More:

To learn more about the Province’s primary health-care strategy, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2018PREM0034-001010

To learn more about the Province’s strategy to increase the number of nurse practitioners, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2018HLTH0034-000995

To learn more about the Province’s strategy to recruit and retain more family medicine graduates, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2018HLTH0052-001043



Rick Glumac, MLA for Port Moody-Coquitlam —

“I know how hard it’s been for residents of the tri-cities to find a consistent primary-care provider, and waits at walk-in clinics have been too long – I’m proud that our government is taking action to provide people with team-based care so they can access the primary health care they need and deserve.”

Mike Farnworth, MLA for Port Coquitlam —

“Connecting health-care providers together in a team has huge benefits for patients, but also for health-care professionals. I’ve heard from many health-care providers in my community who have felt for years that the health-care system hasn’t been fully supporting them. Through team-based care, health-care providers are connected to one another so they can work together and make sure their patients’ needs are being met.”

Selina Robinson, MLA for Coquitlam-Maillardville —

“Primary health-care teams will make a big difference to the people of Coquitlam – families will be better connected to the maternity care they need and seniors, especially those who are frail or have complex health issues, will be connected to a team of providers who will network together to make sure their patients are fully cared for.”

Victoria Lee, president and CEO, Fraser Health —

“By partnering with the Ministry of Health, the Fraser Northwest Division of Family Practice, Kwikwetlem First Nation, Qayqayt First Nation and community organizations, we are putting every patient at the centre of their care. Team-based care will ensure we can support our patients in improving their health, avoiding unnecessary hospital visits and remaining independent,”

Dr. Eric Cadesky, president, Doctors of BC —

“The best health-care systems in the world have strong primary care and we hope that the primary-care network initiative provides needed resources to doctors serving their community. A primary-care network will collectively increase a community’s capacity to provide greater access to primary care for those who need it, especially for vulnerable patients and those with complex health conditions.”

Sue Peck, director and NP council president, BC Nurses and Nurse Practitioners of British Columbia —

“Nurses and Nurse Practitioners of BC are pleased to see that the knowledge, skills and expertise of the entire health-care team will be utilized to improve access to health care for all British Columbians through the new primary-care networks. We believe that this approach will be pivotal in ensuring B.C. families feel connected to their health-care team and we are excited to see the first network launching in Coquitlam today.”

Dr. Paras Mehta, physician lead, Fraser Northwest Division of Family Practice —

“The primary-care network is our chance to work together to organize an often confusing primary-care system and create a more viable environment for family physicians to practise. We see primary-care networks as a means to achieve the shared goal of divisions and our partners: for everyone in the community to have access to primary care.”

Alexis Grace, health director, Kwikwetlem First Nation —

“As an Indigenous Nation occupying this territory, time immemorial, we have a deep understanding and appreciation for the importance of working together as a community to support the health-care needs of our people and our neighbours. A team based and unfettered network of service provision allows Kwikwetlem First Nation the ability to directly address the needs of our Indigenous community, with cultural integrity, while working as a more meaningful contributor to the broader Fraser northwest communities.”

Claire MacLean, chief executive officer, SHARE Family & Community Services Society —

“SHARE Society has long provided support for children, youth, adults and seniors experiencing mental-health challenges. This new funding will enable SHARE to provide urgent outreach counselling services so people can get help quickly, in their moment of need. By working closely with our partners in primary care and public health, SHARE is proud to be part of a community-based solution that wraps services around the needs of the individual patient.”


Ministry of Health
250 952-1887 (media line)NT5

The Fraser northwest region includes Anmore, Balcarra, Coquitlam, Kwikwetlem First Nation, New Westminster, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody and Qayqayt First Nation. These communities have a combined population of 315,000, which is expected to grow to 366,622 in 2021 and 466,400 in 2041.

Fraser northwest currently has 43 primary-care clinics participating in the primary-care network (PCN) and 355 general practitioners. The new and existing health-care practitioners will work together with existing primary-care professionals as part of a networked, team-based approach to providing care. As part of a rapid-access mental-health program, up to five clinical counsellors will be funded to provide services seven days a week across the region in partnership with SHARE Family & Community Services Society, a local community agency.

New resources being allocated to the specific four PCNs in the Fraser northwest region include:

New Westminster PCN

  • Three new general practitioners, four new nurse practitioners, 5.5 new registered nurses and one clinical pharmacist

North Coquitlam, Port Moody, Anmore and Belcarra PCN

  • Three new general practitioners, two new nurse practitioners, 10 new registered nurses and one clinical pharmacist

Port Coquitlam PCN

  • Two new general practitioners, two new nurse practitioners, 7.5 new registered nurses and one clinical pharmacist

Southwest and Southeast Coquitlam PCN

  • Four new general practitioners, four new nurse practitioners, nine new registered nurses and one clinical pharmacist

Resources supporting Kwikwetlem First Nation

  • Weekly sessions for a family physician to provide maternity and sexual health care on-reserve and ensure transitions between local providers when needed for members of Kwikwetlem First Nation.
  • 1.5 support workers to provide care on-reserve and ensure transitions between local providers when needed.
  • The plan also includes ensuring access to home-health and public-health services on the reserve for the patients who require it.
  • All services will be in partnership with Kwikwetlem First Nation and in a culturally safe environment.


Ministry of Health
250 952-1887 (media line)

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