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Transforming primary care on the North Shore

Transforming primary care on the North Shore

August 5, 2020 at 4:55 pm  BC, News, Politics

Government is transforming everyday health care for people living in the North Shore region by establishing three networks of team-based primary care providers, which will bring additional resources and strengthened support to the region.

Over the next four years, across the three networks in the North Shore region, residents will benefit from an additional 62 full-time equivalent health-care providers who will provide better access to primary care. This includes 17 family physicians, one new nurse practitioner and 44 additional health-care professionals ranging from registered nurses, to allied health-care professionals, social workers, Indigenous health co-ordinators and clinical pharmacists.

“As part of our government’s primary care strategy, we’re making life better for everyone in B.C. with team-based health care through primary care networks to provide a seamless patient-centred experience that is responsive to the unique needs of each community,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “The North Shore primary care networks will address long-standing gaps in everyday health care for people living in the communities making up the North Shore region so that patients can get the care they need, when they need it, closer to home.”

The North Shore primary care networks will see community partners work together to ensure tens of thousands of people have access to comprehensive, co-ordinated and team-based primary care services for all of their day-to-day health-care needs in  the districts of North and West Vancouver, the Tsleil Waututh Nation, the City of North Vancouver and the Squamish Nation, as well as the municipalities of Bowen Island and Lions Bay. 

Each network will provide a full range of accessible, everyday health services that will better support patients and providers. These three networks will be the Primary Care Network West, the Primary Care Network Central and the Primary Care Network East.

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

  • better access to chronic disease and chronic pain management;
  • improved access to mild to moderate mental health and substance use services;
  • better co-ordinated services for families and seniors who are frail and people with complex health issues;
  • more access to comprehensive services for people living in poverty; and
  • culturally safe care for Indigenous people.

The networks will work to attach the approximately 28,000 people who do not have a consistent primary care provider in the region, while also providing team-based and culturally safe care to residents of the North Shore.  

An Aboriginal Services Collaborative, representing all Indigenous Nations and service providers, has been established to advise on the implementation of primary care. Local Elders will be supported to provide traditional wellness and peer support, as champions in their communities. For Indigenous peoples, this will mean more co-ordinated and culturally safe primary care support.

“North Shore residents will be able to benefit from a more integrated approach to the health-care experience, enabling them to access a full range of health-care services from birth to end of life,” said Bowinn Ma, MLA for North Vancouver-Lonsdale. “Patient referrals will be more streamlined from one care provider to another, and family physicians, nurse practitioners and other primary health-care providers will be better supported.”

The North Shore primary care networks are a result of a partnership between the Ministry of Health, Vancouver Coastal Health, North Shore Division of Family Practice and the Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Nations.

The Ministry of Health will provide approximately $11 million annually to the North Shore primary care networks once they are fully established.

The Vancouver Coastal region now has six primary care networks, including three in Richmond. In addition, the North Shore urgent and primary care centre opened in November 2019.  

Learn More:

To learn more about how patients can register, visit to be attached to a family physician or nurse practitioner, visit:

To learn more about the Province’s primary health-care strategy, visit:

To learn more about the Province’s strategy to increase the number of nurse practitioners, visit:

To learn more about the Province’s strategy to recruit and retain more family medicine graduates, visit:

Two backgrounders follow.

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