Sea to Sky Division of Family Practice

A GP For ME

Background

A GP for Me is an initiative of Doctors of BC and the Ministry of Health. It aims to:​

  • strengthen the continuous family physician-patient relationship
  • better support the needs of vulnerable patients
  • enable patients who want a family doctor to find one
  • increase the capacity and improve the delivery of primary care in our community

Timeline​

  

​Assessment and Planning

In September 2014, the Division launched the Assessment and Planning phase of our A GP for Me work in Squamish and Whistler. From October to December of 2015, the Division’s physicians engaged local specialists, Vancouver Coastal Health representatives, and a wide variety of community stakeholders to collaborate and identify areas of shared concern and urgency. 

Here are some of the key challenges that were identified:

  • Mental health and substance use is a major concern, particularly among youth
  • About 21% of residents do not have a family doctor, and just over 2,000 people are looking for a doctor
  • There are emerging concerns around the capacity of community supports and urgent care for mental health and substance use patients
  • The high cost of living in the region increases the challenges of recruiting permanent physicians to live and work here

Implementation

Together with partners, the Sea to Sky Division has set out three A GP for Me strategies to improve primary care services in our community, and to help more people get access to the care they need:​
 

1. Attachment: We aim to match more patients with family physicians through three projects that increase awareness of the importance and availability of family doctors.

  • Pilot Attachment Clinic established at Quest University in Squamish to address the primary care needs of resident students and match them with local family doctors.
  • An online A GP for Me directory to provide the public with accurate, timely information about family doctors who may have the capacity to take on new patients.
  • A public awareness campaign to help patients learn about the value of patient-family doctor relationships and how to best access primary care in their community.

2. Mental Health and Substance Abuse: We are working to improve access to existing supports for patients with mental health and substance use issues.​

  • Pilot a Patient Resource Navigator position to help doctors better navigate treatment and support options for patients and their families.
  • Pilot part-time after hours coverage to provide on-call support to patients in crisis within the community
  • Enhanced mental health and substance use training, with an emphasis on youth, to support doctors and other providers to care for these patients. The Child Youth Mental Health Module in Whistler has already started, Squamish dates to be determined.

3. Enhancing Primary Care: We are working to support doctors in their practices, helping them grow their capacity to take on new patients, and increasing the time available to spend with existing patients.​

  • Practice optimization and training for family practices to improve efficiencies and optimize use of Electronic Medical Records
  • Development of an online resource and referral tool of medical and non-medical patient supports in the community, as a shared resource for doctors and possibly other health care providers.

 For a PDF of the implementation summary to print or view, click here.