VANCOUVER B.C. –B.C. Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau and deputy leader Dr. Sanjiv Gandhi toured Seymour Health’s City Centre Urgent Primary Care Centre today, in the midst of a legal battle between Seymour Health and Vancouver Coastal Health Authority (VCHA). VCHA has petitioned the B.C. Supreme Court to return this UPCC and others run by Seymour Health to the health authority. Seymour Health is countersuing VCHA, alleging that it was their intention all along to take over operations.
“It’s amazing to see a high-functioning primary and urgent care facility that’s meeting the needs of patients where they’re at. They’re providing an extraordinary range of services and keeping people out of the ER,” said party leader Sonia Furstenau.
“We are in the midst of a healthcare crisis. It’s quite astonishing that the provincial government is taking steps to undermine the patient care that is happening in this facility. Vancouver Coastal Health and the Ministry of Health should be working with Seymour Health to reach an agreement that ensures uninterrupted delivery of care to patients.”
Seymour Health is using a team-based approach, including lab and imaging in-house, which has provided urgent, primary care, and specialty services to up to 100,000 patients. Healthcare workers and experts across the province are advocating for this model to ease the healthcare crisis, take the administrative burden off physicians, and provide a supportive and sustainable workplace for healthcare professionals.
“The team-based approach by Seymour Health should be recognized as a model for our healthcare system,” said B.C. Green candidate for Langford-Juan de Fuca, Camille Currie. “The B.C. Greens have been calling for community healthcare, and the City Centre Urgent Primary Care Centre makes it easy to see why. On top of providing the care that British Columbians deserve, they have a high staff retention rate and good health outcomes. Staff work in teams of specialists in a supportive environment, and wait times are significantly decreased when multiple patient tests can be conducted under one roof. It’s a better option for everyone involved, and it’s disheartening to see this legal battle take place amidst a healthcare crisis that is costing lives in our province.”
“The City Centre Urgent Primary Care Centre is exactly what British Columbia needs. It is a comprehensive, multidisciplinary, collaborative, and cost-saving model of care. It offers urgent care, primary care, specialist care, and rapid diagnostics, all in one place,” said deputy party leader, Dr. Sanjiv Gandhi. “Physicians and nurses want to work here, and patients are well taken care of in an expeditious manner. This community health centre has demonstrated remarkable success in improving the health and well-being of the local population, which is exactly what is necessary at a time when so many people in our province lack access to consistent, longitudinal care. Rather than resorting to court action, the Ministry of Health should meet their obligation of facilitating diagnostic billing licenses. More so, this model of care should be replicated, not squashed, if we have any hope of escaping from the current healthcare crisis.”
“It is the people who now have to wait longer for diagnosis and treatment who will pay the price,” added Furstenau. “This UPCC is delivering high quality, preventative primary care and in doing so, saving the province money. Vancouver Coastal Health and Minister Dix need to show leadership and put the needs of patients at the centre of their decision-making, and work with Seymour Health, rather than against them. The NDP government putting tax dollars towards a legal battle against Seymour Health is the opposite of what British Columbians need.”
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Quote from nonpartisan healthcare expert
“We have worked with our doctors, staff and patients to create the biggest and busiest UPCC and the only one connected to primary care, specialists, laboratory, x-ray and ultrasound. It costs us $2.1M/yr to provide medically-necessary tests; in return VCHA only gives us $180,000. All of our medical services are publicly funded. Not only have we never charged any patient any money, but we have paid over $10M for medically-necessary tests while waiting for promised funding. Emergency rooms are overburdened, clinics are closing, and 1 million people in BC don't have a family doctor. Our community health centre model helps overburdened emergency rooms, connects people to primary care, and cares for people in their own neighbourhood. We have remained open every day of the year, even during the pandemic. The only disruption to our care was the legal action from Vancouver Coastal Health, which forced us to close laboratory and ultrasound services. We are so proud of our doctors, nurses, and all staff who continue to focus on patient care despite the challenges around them.”
Dr. Eric Cadesky, Medical Director, Seymour Health