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

Fentanyl found at a Delta high school, district says

Warning issued after fake Xanax pills confiscated from a student were found to contain opioids

White Rock councillors speak out on art project

A $100,000 hospital sculpture, paid for by city, draws criticism

Metro Vancouver mayors vote to ‘develop’ $1.65B in Fraser Highway SkyTrain plans

Surrey will have to ‘compensate’ for the $56 million already spent on light rail

Sources employment services to close in White Rock, Cloverdale

Transition to new service to begin next year

Delta Gymnastics sends four on tour of Japan

Coach, three gymnastists left Dec. 4 for a two-week trip to experience Japanese gymnastics, culture

MAP: Christmas light displays in Surrey, Langley and beyond

Send us pictures of your National Lampoon-style lit-up homes, nativity scenes or North Pole playlands

Vancouver police make arrest in hit and run that killed skateboarder

Charges stem from a two-year investigation into the April 17 death of 30-year-old Ryan Barron

5 to start your day

Powerful winds anticipated in Lower Mainland, Chilliwack company facing charges in chicken abuse case and more

Increase in downed power lines in B.C., how to stay safe

BC Hydro study finds a third of British Columbians may be putting themselves at risk

Woman dies after being struck by bus in Burnaby

RCMP officers from the traffic and collision teams are investigating

Judge sets bail at $2.5 million in 1987 slaying of B.C. couple

William Talbott II, 55, is charged with two counts of aggravated first-degree murder

EU leaders vow to press on with ‘no-deal’ Brexit plans

European Union leaders have offered Theresa May sympathy but no promises, as the British prime minister seeks a lifeline.

Powerful winds set to hit Metro Vancouver, Fraser Valley, Vancouver Island

The agency says winds in coastal areas will strengthen up to 70 kilometres an hour before the front moves inland and gusts reach 90 kilometres an hour.

Mandatory victim surcharge cruel and unusual punishment, top court rules

Stephen Harper’s Conservative government made the charges mandatory in 2013.

Most Read