New model and networks support better care for patients, attract new physicians

A new health centre in Sidney is taking a team-based approach to care to support more patients with a wide range of medical needs.

The Saanich Peninsula Primary Health Care Centre Society’s new clinic will allow physicians and a team of allied health providers to treat more patients while offering a broader range of wrap-around services. It is the first in a planned network of three or four care centres on the Saanich Peninsula that will take a team-based approach to care.

The clinic was formed by both physicians and community members. The opportunity to make it happen was supported by funding from the South Island Division of Family Practice and the provincial A GP for Me initiative.

The clinic’s team-based approach aims to ensure that patients with the most urgent health needs are seen as quickly as possible, while physicians have a well-balanced practice. This means providing locum coverage, incorporating allied health practitioners, and recruiting other doctors. By fall 2016, about 1,000 patients had requested to be attached to a physician through the clinic.

Dr Elizabeth Rhoades, South Island Division board member and co-chair of the society, says the Division is excited about the team-based approach to health care. “Today, we’re able to manage chronic conditions better. People live much longer with complex illnesses, and our population is aging. That means physicians carry a larger case load of patients who need much more attention than in the past. It’s very difficult to manage all of that when you’re alone and in your own practice. It takes a whole team to properly manage patients today.”

She says the initiative is generating buzz among new doctors, and future plans include providing on-site education for graduated medical students. “Young physicians are very interested in the network model,” says Dr Rhoades. “We’ve already recruited four physicians working part-time or full-time, and we are very optimistic that more physicians will join us later this year.”

She notes that there are excellent doctors working in their private offices, but no organized infrastructure in primary health care in the community. “That’s what we’re trying to do here: bring some organized structure for family doctors who are providing health care directly to patients.”

Read more about the how the clinic has started to pay back the municipal loan (February 2018).

(below) Dr Chris Dowler; Ruvey Lovegrove, office manager and lead MOA; Dr Colin Tambolin; and Camille Tamboline, MOA support