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B.C. announces new integrated primary, community care facility for Vanderhoof

The new facility will be located on the St. John Hospital Campus
Provincial, regional and municipal leaders gathered in Vanderhoof Monday (Nov. 13) for the announcement of a new integrated primary-care and community health services facility for Vanderhoof. (Mayor Kevin Moutray photo)

Vanderhoof is getting a new integrated primary-care and community health services facility, set to open in 2025.

Adrian Dix, B.C.’s Minister of Health, arrived in town Monday (Nov. 13) to deliver the good-news announcement in person.

“A new integrated primary and community care facility means the people of Vanderhoof will have better access to high-quality team-based health care when they need it,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health in a news release. “Team-based care has become integral to the primary-care system in B.C. Building out a primary and community care system that focuses on improving access for patients across the province is a priority for our government.”

To establish a fully integrated primary and community care model, physicians and nurse practitioners practising at the Omineca Medical Clinic will be co-located with the Northern Health interprofessional teams in a new facility on the St. John Hospital Campus.

“Northern Health is planning for the future of primary and community health care in the Vanderhoof area,” said Colleen Nyce, chair, Northern Health board of directors. “This new facility brings together local primary-care providers and Northern Health community health services team members under one roof, ensuring patients have access to multiple and co-ordinated health-care services in one place, well into the future.”

The new facility is expected to result in significant improvements for care providers and patients - from increased space, to a better layout that will improve both accessibility and patient privacy. It is the first of its kind in the north outside of Prince George, Fort St. John and the Prince Ruperty Prenatal Clinic.

“Our government is committed to improving access to care for everyone, no matter where in B.C. they live,” said Jennifer Rice, parliamentary secretary for Rural Health. “With this new facility and team-based model, the people of Vanderhoof and surrounding communities will be able to receive improved access to the quality health care they deserve.”

Upon completion of detailed design and procurement processes, construction of the new Vanderhoof primary-care and community health services centre is expected to begin in the fall of 2024. The new facility will be located on land occupied by the old College of New Caledonia hospital building, which will be removed in early 2024.

Vanderhoof Mayor Kevin Moutray said the new integrated primary-care and community health services facility is a great announcement for Vanderhoof.

“We are so grateful for the healthcare team we have here and integrating the primary care team with other services is going to make delivering those services even better,” said Moutray. “I would like to acknowledge former Premier Horgan, former Mayor Thiessen, and former Hospital District Chair Peterson for their hard work on making this project a reality. I would also like to thank Minister Dix, Northern Health, and the current Stuart Nechako Hospital District board for funding the project.”

When asked whether there are enough physicians currently in Vanderhoof, Moutray said the community had great doctor numbers up until this year.

“We had a perfect storm this summer that led to some ER closures. We’re out of the crisis but are still short a few positions,” he said, adding the district takes a very involved role in attraction and retention efforts.

Judy Greenaway, chair, Stuart-Nechako Regional Hospital District, said the Stuart-Nechako Regional Hospital District is proud to be a partner in the new facility.

“The primary-care facility in Vanderhoof will provide much-needed capacity to the community and surrounding area. Residents and health practitioners alike will now have a central location where primary health-care services can be provided, resulting in faster and improved access to team-based care,” she said.

About the Author: Vanderhoof Omineca Express Staff

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