May 9, 2012
The Government of Saskatchewan is investing $3.6 million to strengthen primary health care services in the province. To guide this work, the government also released the Framework for Achieving a High Performing Primary Health Care System in Saskatchewan.
"Our government is committed to the transformation of primary health care to better meet the needs of the patients, communities and health care providers," Health Minister Don McMorris said. "Our aim is a primary health care system that is sustainable, offers a superior patient experience and ensures better access to services as the foundation of our health system."
The funding announced today will support all Regional Health Authorities to improve access to primary health care providers and services and engage with partners and communities. Funding will also be allocated for designing and implementing innovative models of primary health care delivery in eight sites.
The eight primary health care learning sites, built on partnerships between health regions, communities and providers are located in Yorkton, Meadow Lake, Lloydminster, Leader, Regina-inner city, Moose Jaw, Fort Qu'Appelle and Whitecap Dakota First Nation. These sites are in different stages of establishing primary health care teams that will work collaboratively to better meet the needs of the patients and communities they serve with a focus on improved patient experience and increased access to care.
The framework is a road map to a patient centred, community designed, team delivered approach to primary health care in the province. The framework will help to guide health regions, health providers and communities to work together to design primary health care services most suitable for their area.
Enhanced primary health care makes better use of a broad range of health professionals, working to full scope of practice, with a physician as a key team member.
"I am truly excited to see the vision for primary health care in Saskatchewan come alive," Saskatchewan Medical Association past-president Dr. Phillip Fourie said. "By defining primary health care goals, collaborative and team-based care delivery will be enhanced so that patient's interests remain at the centre, and family physicians will be integral members of these teams for the delivery of care to all Saskatchewan citizens. Saskatchewan family physicians support the goal of each Saskatchewan citizen being attached to a family physician, as they bring unique skills and specific training to complement the team. The physicians of the province also recognize that the evolution of quality improvement is grounded in the local needs and realities of individual communities."
Communities play a vital role in determining the design of health care services in their areas.
"Community engagement is a critical component of a patient-centered primary health care system," Cudworth Mayor Harold Mueller said. "We established the Cudworth Community Health Council that includes representatives from the community and Saskatoon Health Region. The terms of engagement for this council focus on shared decision-making to achieve mutually acceptable outcomes. The process we followed and the agreement we reached could serve as a prototype for other interested communities."
For more information on Primary Health Care in Saskatchewan visit the Ministry of Health website at http://www.health.gov.sk.ca/primary-health-care .
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