The Lakes District Health Centre in Burns Lake has extended its primary care hours.
The clinic is now open from 4 p.m. until 7 p.m. on Wednesdays, part of the hospital’s three-month pilot program.
“The goal of the project is to increase access for patients of the Lakes District Health Centre and increase the number of patients attached to a most responsible provider, by providing primary care outside of typical business hours,” as Northern Health spokesperson Eryn Collins told Lakes District News.
After December, the pilot will be assessed based on how many more patients were seen by doctors and the overall experiences of physicians and patients with the longer hours.
Patients can see whichever of the three regular physicians at the hospital – Dr. Nogela, Dr. Williams and Dr. Okebie – will be working into the evening on Wednesdays. One of those doctors will work during the extended hours.
It’s not necessary to book an appointment ahead of time and patients will be seen by a doctor in the order they arrive at the clinic.
The added hours are part of the Primary Care Networks (PCN) trend that emphasize better care through more contact time between patients and doctors, and more integration with other medical professionals.
The provincial Health Ministry has been rolling out the new PCNs since last year, which started in South Okanagan-Similkameen, Comox, Prince George, Richmond and Burnaby.
The PCN push involves hiring large numbers of new doctors, nurse-practitioners, pharmacists and other health care professionals and to set them up in most communities of B.C. by 2021.
At the opening of a new primary care centre in Maple Ridge on Oct. 4, Health Minister Adrian Dix said 200 new doctors and 200 new nurses will be added to the PCNs under the scheme.