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

Surrey couple visits the Philippines each year to give back to wife’s former village

Nissa and Bob Clarkson give toys to children, provide medical-dental missions

Surrey mom says Liberal budget falls short in helping people with autism

Louise Witt, whose son has autism, says budget provisions like ‘putting a Band-Aid on a cancer’

Upbeat White Rock concert blends ecology, history

The Wilds and Tiller’s Folly raise ‘Voices for the Salish Sea’

South Surrey mother guilty of second-degree murder in death of daughter

Lisa Batstone ‘took seven decades of Teagan’s life’

STRONG, PERSEVERING AND PROUD: Surrey Pride celebrates 20 years with biggest party yet

PART ONE: A special series on the past, present and future of our LGBTQ+ community

Province announces $18.6 million for B.C. Search and Rescue

The funding, spread over three years, to pay for operations, equipment, and training

Vancouver-bound transit bus involved in fatal crash near Seattle

One man was killed and a woman injured in crash with bus purchased by TransLink

Late-season wave of the flu makes its round in B.C.

BC Centre for Disease Control reported 50 per cent jump in flu cases in first weeks of March

Tofino’s housing crisis causing some to seek shelter at the local hospital

Tofino’s housing crisis is pushing the town’s ‘hidden homeless’ population into the forefront.

Sentencing judge in Broncos crash calls for carnage on highways to end

Judge Inez Cardinal sentenced Jaskirat Singh Sidhu to eight years

2 fires in Victoria caused by cigarettes prompts warning from deputy fire chief

Two separate fires caused by cigarette butts were avoidable

98-year-old cyclist in critical condition after struck by car in Abbotsford

83-year-old driver stayed on scene and did not suffer any injuries in the incident

Most Read