Home Business & Economy Health Care Sector New Westshore Community Health Centre will ‘make a dent’ serving 6,700 patients

New Westshore Community Health Centre will ‘make a dent’ serving 6,700 patients

Set to open in Spring 2022 | Aimed at attaching socially and economically disadvantaged westshore residents with a doctor or nurse practitioner

westshore, community health centre
The new Westshore Community Health Centre will be located within the Centre for Well Being at 324 Goldstream Ave in Colwood. [Island Social Trends]

Friday November 12, 2021 | COLWOOD, BC [Updated November 13, 2021 with a closeup of Minister Dean’s fancy pink shoes!]

by Mary P Brooke, B.Sc., Editor | Island Social Trends

It was suddenly raining heavily during a key part of this afternoon’s outdoor announcement by Mitzi Dean, MLA for Esquimalt-Metchosin and Minister of Children and Family Development.

Indeed, the torrent of raindrops hitting the overhead tarps sounded like robust applause, which may well reflect the significance of today’s announcement for the region, not to mention the joy for this now-government minister whose career before politics had been in the delivery of targeted social and health care services for children and families.

mitzi dean, ron mattson
Announcing the new Westshore Community Health Centre in Colwood on November 12, 2021 (from left): Mitzi Dean, Minister of Children and Family Development; Shawna Adams, Chair, Pacific Family Centre Services Association; Dr Randal Mason, co-chair, South Island Division of Family Practice; and Ron Mattson, vice-chair, Island Health Board of Directors. [Island Social Trends]

Minister Dean worked for 10 years in the original Pacific Centre Family Services Association (PCFSA) building on Wale Road behind where today’s announcement was held at at the recently-new (pre-pandemic) Centre for Well Being building at 324 Goldstream Avenue, out of which the PCFSA continues its long-time operations (the organization started in 1968).

Today’s BC government announcement about the new Westshore Community Health Centre led by Minister Dean on behalf of Minister of Health Adrian Dix was about launching the opening of the new Westshore Community Health Centre (CHC), coming up in Spring 2022. It will operate out of the Centre for Well Being building which is situated within the commercial hub of Colwood near shopping, other services, and public transportation routes.

Targeting the disadvantaged:

mitzi dean, mla
Minister of Children and Family Development Mitzi Dean (MLA for Esquimalt-Metchosin) was very pleased to announce the new Westshore Community Health Centre, Nov 12, 2021 [Island Social Trends]

“Our government wants to make sure that people in the Westshore have faster and better access to the health-care services that are vitally important to including a family doctor or nurse practitioner,” said Dean.

Different from the Urgent Primary Care Centre (UPCC) model — with several of those drop-in urgent care facilities having been opened around the province by the BC Government under the NDP John Horgan government (which has led the province since mid-2017), the CHC facility integrates not only a longer-term view to people’s care but keeps an eye open to identify individuals and families who may need a range of specialized supports including those related to lower income or other socioeconomic barriers to health.

mitzi dean, shoes
Sparkly pink shoes for a bright important moment on a rainy day! Mitzi Dean’s footwear for her big announcement Nov 12, 2021. [Island Social Trends]

A key goal of the new CHC model is to attach people who are considered to have higher need, to a family doctor or nurse practitioner toward the goal of following their development in care, explained Dean.

Trio of key players:

Attending the announcement and sharing the podium today with Minister Dean, each in turn, were three key players in the bringing the Westshore Community Health Centre to fruition.

westshore, map, labels
The new Westshore Community Health Centre aims to serve residents of Colwood, Langford, Metchosin and Highlands.

Ron Mattson, Island Health Vice-Chair (also a Town of View Royal Councillor, and coming up to the end of his term on the Island Health Board at December 31, 2021) was part of the announcement, as well as Pacific Centre Family Services Association (PCFSA) board chair Shawna Adams, and Dr Randal Mason, co-chair, South Island Division of Family Practice (a membership-based, not-for-profit society).

The targeted service area for new clients at the Westshore Community Health Centre (CHC) includes Colwood, Langford, Highlands and Metchosin. The new Westshore CHC will provide comprehensive primary care services as well as access to social supports.

As a political note, Colwood and Metchosin fall within Minister Dean’s riding of Esquimalt-Metchosin, while Langford and Highlands are within the Premier’s riding of Langford-Juan de Fuca. Collectively the four now better-served municipal areas with the new collaborative health service have long functioned informally as region known locally as ‘the west shore’.

The ‘west shore’ is a readily identifiable moniker for a footprint of urban and rural areas that function cohesively in various ways including the local chamber of commerce, and fire department mutual aid; the SD62 School District serves the students of families in Langford, Colwood, Highlands, Metchosin, and Sooke as well as parts of View Royal, and west of Sooke up to Port Renfrew.

Island Health leadership:

Ron Mattson, Island Health, view royal
Island Health Vice-Chair Ron Mattson, appreciated the collaborative approach to developing the Westshore Community Health Centre. [Island Social Trends]

“Island Health has been a leader when it comes to this project,” said Dean, as she introduced Island Health vice-chair Ron Mattson.

“Today is a celebration of new services to support health and care for the people of this region,” said Mattson. “Health care services will be offered in collaboration with Pacific Centre Family Services Association.”

For more than a year now, Island Health has worked with a variety of partners to develop primary care networks that will connect individuals and families to health care networks to health-care services and resources in which they live, work and play, Mattson said.

“A key component of the Western Communities Primary Care Network will be the addition of the Westshore Community Health Centre (CHC), where patients attached to the CHC can access a variety of health care supports from a team of health care providers. The CHC is about improving access to health and care services while assisting people to navigate and connect to health care resources closer to home,” Mattson said today.

“It’s an honour and privilege to be here,” said Mattson, thanking the Minister of Health and the South Island division of Family Practice for their ongoing commitment to improving primary care services in this region. He also thanked the Island Health care team that has worked closely with partners like PFCSA to build and foster those important relationships. with the goal of improving health outcomes for Island Health residents.

What the CHC offers:

A team of health care providers will work at the centre, including family doctors, nurse practitioners, registered nurses, social workers, community health workers and an Elder in Residence. Together they will offer primary care and health promotion services that are culturally safe and comprehensive for the attached patients.

People with mental health conditions, substance use, multiple chronic health conditions, including with an eye to seniors, Indigenous people and gender-diverse people.

The new facility will include 16 exam rooms, six virtual care stations, and support areas.

Working against discrimination and social economic factors:

shawna adams, pacific centre family services assoc
Pacific Centre Family Services Association Board Chair Shawna Adams, Nov 12, 2021. [Island Social Trends]

“It’s a joint effort of the Ministry of Health and PCFSA. I’m so impressed with the work the association has been doing over the last few years,”said Dean in introducing PCFSA chair Shawna Adams.

“I’m grateful for the opportunity and looking forward to serving the needs of those of our community who have been excluded from health-care as a result of discrimination and social economic factors,” said Adams.

The association has been delivering trauma-informed counselling and social services for children, youth and adults since 1968 in the Capital Regional District (among other, in that last 10 years or more, the municipalities of Colwood and Langford have contributed funds to the PCFSA).

“Physicians, nurse practitioners, registered nurses, social workers, community health workers and an Elder in Residence to deliver culturally safe and comprehensive primary health care and health promotion services,” said Adams. “In order to achieve this milestone, PCFSA has developed extensive community partnerships and has been a leading force in community improvement, involvement and collaboration.”

She was excited to highlight the “trauma-informed, integrated primary and mental health care, that will be delivered to under-served individuals and families with complex needs in the west shore community”.

Budget & collaboration:

After covering $1.9 million in start-up costs, the provincial government will provide about $4 million in operating budget once the centre reaches full capacity.

“I value collaboration so much,” said Dean today. “That is how we best deliver services in community, and we get the best results and the best success for children and families in our communities.” she said.

She thanked PCFSA for “taking on this transformational journey” with the various partners, including Island Health and the Ministry of Health, and allowing the of health. and allowing South Island Division of Family Practice to be a part of the journey. Dean is “looking forward to collaboration, planning and opening the services”.

“The Doctors of BC and South Island Division of Family Practice have taken leadership in the project too, said Dean today, as she introduced Dr Mason who co-chairs the South Island Division of Family Practice.

“We all know there is a shortage of family doctors, nurse practitioners and primary care services in the Western communities. People who face barriers to accessing the care that is available are particularly at risk of negative health outcomes as a result of this shortage,” the Minister of Children and Family Development said.

dr randal mason, westshore
Dr Randal Mason, co-chair, South Island Division of Family Practice, at the Nov 12, 2021 announcement about the Westshore Community Health Centre. [Island Social Trends]

Dr Randal Mason also highlighted the collaboration between government and community organizations “to develop a care system for people who face barriers or need additional support beyond what may be offered in a traditional family practice.”

“The Mayor of Colwood is very supportive, we’ve been having conversations for a long time about serving our community together,” said Dean, adding that she’d spoken earlier in the day to Colwood Mayor Rob Martin about today’s announcement.

Highlighting barriers and shortages:

“Having a CHC that focuses on health equity and the social determinants of health within the context of primary care is a a significant step forward for the health of our community, and especially for those who are under-served within the health care system,” said Dean.

“In the west shore we saw services leaving our community in spite of the growth around our communities,” said Dean as a long-time social service sector worker before being first elected as an MLA in 2017.

“The Westshore Community Health Centre will connect more people with the health-care they need when they need it, and closer to home. It will bring a real solution for community members who have been struggling to access health-care services for years.” said Dean.

“Personally, it’s a real pleasure to be able to recognize everyone in the community who has supported the development of this centre over so many years,” said Mitzi Dean at today’s small by-invitation gathering that adhered to COVID public health protocols.

“This Centre for Well Being has been designed from its very inception to be trauma-informed. To bring a health center here means we really are tackling those barriers to access to health care,” said a clearly happy Mitzi Dean.

“This was the vision for the Centre of Well Being… to bring non-stigmatizing, accessible services delivered on a continuum of care in collaboration, trauma-informed and culturally sensitive,” Dean outlined.

Full Westshore UPCC continues as is:

The nearby Westshore Urgent Primary Care Centre, further up the road at 582 Goldstream Avenue in Langford, is operating at full capacity. Full capacity means, to the providers, that their operational space is full. To residents of the westshore who still don’t have a family doctor (that number was 30,000 people back in 2018 when the Westshore UPCC opened.

langford, westshore urgent primary care centre, health care
BC Health Minister Adrian Dix addressed crowd at opening of the Westshore Urgent Primary Care Centre in Langford October 26, 2018. From left: Mitzi Dean, MLA (Esquimalt-Metchosin), Premier John Horgan, Health Minister Adrian Dix, Mental Health and Addictions Minister Judy Darcy. [West Shore Voice News photo by Mary P Brooke]

A UPCC addresses just what the name says, i.e. urgent care. If a person coming in for urgent care is seen to be in need of longer-term care they will be attached to a family doctor or nurse practitioner, and some of that case load will be handled at the new Westshore Community Health Centre where the full range of supports for addressing longer-term needs will be available.

Urgent care is being delivered across the province. “Langford and Esquimalt UPCC’s respond to urgent care for the region,” said Dean. At the Westshore CHC it’s “more about working families and barriers, and moving between collaboration and integration, between different types of services”.

See list of UPCC’s in BC.

Making a dent:

PFCSA chair Shawna Adams explained that attaching patients and providing longitudinal care is the goal of the Westshore CHC, rather than urgent care needs and walk-in. There will be short notice appointment times but for patients who are already attached to a primary care giver in the CHC.

About 6,700 patients will be served at the Westshore CHC, said Adams, calling it “a dent a least, in that need”, being served by nine physicians, three nurse practitioners, four RNs, one social worker, four community health workers and one Elder in Residence.

When complete, the centre will begin by operating Mondays to Thursdays from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Fridays 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturdays 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Still without a family doctor?

This new system of delivery at the Westshore CHC is not necessarily putting a dent in the overall number of people in the westshore who still don’t have a family doctor. It’s about streamlining available services to where the BC Health system feels it’s needed most.

If someone is not considered to be in one of the targeted need groups, there is no added advantage (as in finding a family doctor if you don’t already have one) as a result of today’s announcement.

If someone is without a family physician, where do they go first — UPCC or CHC? For urgent care, still head to a UPCC, nothing has changed about that. The CHC is for those who’ve experienced barriers to care, and will end up there through both awareness during a UPCC visit and through a range of other social support services and programs on the westshore or south Vancouver Island.

goldstream ave, map
Two health centres on Goldstream Avenue in the westshore. [map]

“CHC will not be able to attach every person; there’s much greater need that we can provide,” said Adams. “The walk-in clinics are a different variety. Those are a separate piece to what we offer. This is for longitudinal care, following patients.”

Dr. Matthew Chow, president, Doctors of BC, said in a news release: “We look forward to the integration of the Westshore Community Health Centre within primary-care networks to provide more timely access to health-care services while supporting those important long-term relationships and continuity of care that result in better health outcomes for patients.”

About CHC’s:

Community Health Centres are community-governed, not-for-profit organizations with services tailored to meet the needs of the community they serve.

The Westshore CHC is a collaboration between the Ministry of Health and Pacific Centre Family Services Association. It forms part of the Western Communities Primary Care Network and will be governed, owned and operated by Pacific Centre Family Services Association in partnership with Island Health.

“Community Health Centres play an important role in offering person-centered approaches to health-care delivery,” said Leah Hollins, board chair, Island Health, in a new release. “Once it opens, the Westshore Community Health Centre will provide Western Communities residents with better access to primary health-care services that are culturally safe and comprehensive.”

john horgan, constituency, ad

===== LINKS:

BC primary care strategy

Pacific Centre Family Services Association

Westshore Urgent Primary Centre (Island Health)

Island Social Trends, subscriptions, banner
Digital subscribers receive a digest of news posts and additional editorial content.


Mary Brooke, editor, West Shore Voice News
Mary P Brooke, Editor and Publisher, Island Social Trends.

Island Social Trends Editor Mary P Brooke holds a health science B.Sc. She’s been writing locally about the news and dynamics of the various west shore communities since 2008.

oaktree naturals
OakTree Naturals is on Goldstream Ave in Langford.