As your MLA for Oak Bay-Gordon Head, I have heard from people throughout our community who are concerned about their family doctors retiring and local clinics closing. People in Greater Victoria deserve high-quality and accessible health care and that’s why our government has been working hard to create solutions that meet our community’s health-care needs.
Our government has announced four new primary care networks in Greater Victoria, one of which will serve the residents of the Oak Bay, Gordon Head, and the Shelbourne areas. Primary care networks are at the heart of our government’s commitment to ensuring people can access a regular primary care provider.
Having an ongoing relationship with a primary care provider is essential for long-term health and well-being. That’s why we are recruiting 96.5 additional full-time health-care professionals over the next four years to provide coordinated and collaborative primary care to Greater Victoria residents. We are committing $16 million in annual funding to maintain these networks.
We are also tackling the concern of lengthy wait times by creating more options for health care. The new Urgent and Primary Care Centre that opened in downtown Victoria on July 19 will help ease the pressure on many of our local clinics and connect people to same-day primary care.
Primary care networks improve access to care by addressing the needs of unique populations. For example, people dealing with complex health issues will benefit from streamlined collaboration between their health-care providers. These networks will also provide better care for people with less severe mental health conditions, greater access to comprehensive services for people living in poverty, and culturally safe care for Indigenous peoples.
As part of these networks, seniors with mobility issues and people facing economic challenges will benefit from two new mobile medical vans, designed to meet people where they are located. To enhance health-care delivery to urban Indigenous populations, we are recruiting more doctors and nurses at the Victoria Native Friendship Centre. This investment in more health-care providers will also support the expansion of service delivery to the Songhees, Esquimalt, T’Sou-ke, Scia’new, and Pacheedaht First Nations.
I have also been closely monitoring the redevelopment process of the Oak Bay Lodge. I encourage everyone in our community to participate in the public consultation, which is open until Aug 6. I will continue to advocate to ensure this facility is used in a way that meets our community’s needs.
These new health investments will make a positive difference for Greater Victoria residents when accessing health care. High-quality and fast health care is a top priority for me as your MLA and I will keep working to ensure regular access to primary care is a right enjoyed by all in our community.
Murray Rankin is the MLA for Oak Bay-Gordon Head.