People looking for family doctors in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows have a few options.
“We are thrilled that we have successfully recruited three new physicians and two nurse practitioners to our community as we know there are many residents looking for a family doctor or nurse practitioner,” said Dr. Melodie Prem-Smith, chair of the Ridge Meadows Division of Family Practice.
The group has been working to recruit doctors to the communities served by Ridge Meadows Hospital in recent years, to enable more residents to have a family physician.
With a new model of health care called Primary Care Networks, four physicians and two nurse practitioners are accepting patients in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows. Primary Care Networks are being launched across BC by the Ministry of Health, and are intended to increase access to timely, coordinated and comprehensive primary health care.
“Being part of Primary Care Network means that our medical community has access to additional health care services via the Ridge Meadows Wellness Centre for groups like seniors and adults with chronic pain,” said Dr. Prem-Smith. “Knowing that we have these team-based supports for our patients is a real draw for incoming physicians – as well as existing physicians,”
The Ridge Meadows Primary Care Network is led locally by the Division of Family Practice, Katzie First Nation and Fraser Health.
“We were one of a few communities called in the Ministry’s first wave of funding for the Primary Care Network, so the many benefits this new model is having are being felt in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows a lot earlier than in other communities,” said Treena Innes, division executive director.
Innes points to the recently launched Ridge Meadows Wellness Centre as one example.
She said the Wellness Centre was the result of a process that brought together physicians and the community to identify our top health priorities, and what services would meet them.
“As a result, we now have teams of specialists and allied health providers caring for our most vulnerable populations. It’s the only primary care network model in the province like it.”
The Division of Family Practice is a non-profit society that represents physicians in the community and supports them to deliver patient care improvement projects.
“When patients can’t access the services they need, it’s hard on the whole community. As a family doctor, it is extremely difficult to tell people that you can’t accept them because your roster is full,” said Dr. Al Neufeld, lead physician recruiter for division.
“Knowing that there are doctors able to take on those patients is a huge relief for everyone.”
The vision of the Ridge Meadows Primary Care Network, developed through a collaborative process between family physicians, the local health authority, patients and community partners, is to build a seamless primary health care journey for members of Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows and Katzie First Nation communities.
For more information about local physicians and nurse practitioners accepting patients, go to findadoctorridgemeadows.ca.