VANCOUVER, B.C. — Premier John Horgan announced today that the B.C. government is launching a new primary health-care strategy to deliver faster and improved access to health care in the province.

At the heart of the strategy is a new focus on team-based care that will see government fund and recruit more doctors, nurse practitioners and other health professionals, to put patients back at the centre of health-care delivery. The government says it will put the initial priority on addressing the shortage of general practitioners in the province by funding up to 200 new general practitioners to work in the new team-based care model.

“By improving how we connect people to care, we can help make sure that British Columbians get the health care they need faster and closer to home,” said Premier Horgan. “The kind of care people need, and how it’s delivered, has to change. It’s no longer as simple as a doctor-patient relationship. We need to be looking forward and providing team-based care that better meets the needs of British Columbians. In every community I visit, patients, doctors, nurses and other health-care professionals all say the same thing: ‘Health care delivery must become more patient centred.’ We’re getting the job done.”

Also part of the new strategy is the implementation of primary care networks that will be the backbone to the team-based approach. The networks will allow patients access to a full range of health-care options from maternity to end of life, streamlining referrals from one provider to another, and providing better support to family physicians, nurse practitioners, and other primary health-care providers. The networks are being rolled out in the first five communities, including Burnaby, Comox, Prince George, Richmond and South Okanagan Similkameen. The networks will be rolled out in at least 15 communities over the next 12 months, and across 70 percent of B.C. communities over the next three years.