Victoria Health Co-op: Do you have a Primary Health Care Practitioner?

Victoria Health Co-op

By Vanessa Hammond, Chair, Victoria Health Co-operative

Too many people (approximately 70,000 in the Capital Regional District) do not have access to Primary Health Care

And do not have access to a Nurse Practitioner or belong to Family Physician’s practice, and have to line up for hours to get into a drop-in-clinic. We would like to thank the members of the Victoria Health Co-op and many others supporters in the community who have helped us to take a major step forward in providing more Primary Health Care on the island.

We are able to sign up several hundred patients for Primary Health Care with a Nurse Practitioner and we have an extensive list of potential patients waiting for care. To make this service available, we have worked, and continue to work, very hard to obtain salary funding, arrange for exam rooms, raise some funds for exam room furniture and equipment (everything from exam room beds/tables to stethoscopes). We will continue to ask for the support of the community to raise funds for these necessary costs.

We are often asked, “Why a Nurse Practitioner? What can a Nurse Practitioner (NP) do?” NPs provide outstanding Primary Health Care. The alternative to these services would be a Family Physician, but there are none available.

The full Scope of Practice of NPs is on the Victoria Health Co-op website and at: also with a FAQ summary at

The short version, stated on the BC RN-NP website, is that “Nurse Practitioners are registered nurses with experience and advanced nursing education at the master’s level. NPs autonomously diagnose, treat and manage acute and chronic physical and mental illnesses. As advanced practice nurses, nurse practitioners:

  • analyze, synthesize and apply evidence to make decisions about their clients’ health care

  • provide a comprehensive range of essential health services grounded in professional, ethical and legal standards within a holistic model of care

  • work collaboratively with their clients to establish measurable goals, and identify and advocate to close gaps in health outcomes”

Why might you care?

If you do not have a Primary Health Care provider (MD or NP) and have to go to a walk-in clinic whenever you need medical care, you might want to be on the list. If you know someone else in that situation, they might want to be on the list. If you would be willing to help with the remaining financial needs, you are welcomed around here! We are in need of more funds for equipment, licensing an Electronic Medical Records program, and examination room consumables, like cotton swabs, tongue depressors, etc. Are you able to help us cover these costs? Donations of over $20 through the Creating Community Wellness Society (CRA 833835457 RR0001) are eligible for a Charitable Donation Receipt.

Want to learn more about the Victoria Health Co-op Nurse Practitioner Program?

Come to our next presentation from 10-11am on October 18 at James Bay New Horizons, or contact us to arrange for a presentation to your group. We do want to remind everyone that while we like people to join the Vic Health Co-op this is NOT a requirement to access Nurse Practitioners services. All that is needed is an active BC CareCard.

The Vic Health Co-op also offers some outstanding services for our members. Ask us about monthly Members’ “by donation” treatments available from our team of outstanding Wellness Practitioners, and about the Health Access Fund. Try out our ‘Co-ops 101 Light’ to understand the key characteristics of co-operatives. We will be building on last year’s very successful Co-op Café series, organizing a new ‘Choices for a Healthy Lifestyle” series and finding a partner for a Hans Kai course as well as working with the Creating Community Wellness Society on research into how and why seniors volunteer, why they stop volunteering and how they can be encouraged to continue.

We hope you will also enjoy our fall and winter program - we are offering new and recurring programs for the community and our Co-op Members:
Season 2 of our Co-op Café series: the World Health Organization reminds us that getting together and knowing all about our community is really important for our well-being.
Offering “Co-ops: A Mini-101” for people who want to join the Vic Health Co-op but have very little time to learn about being a member-owner of a co-operative.
Holding a major fundraiser to support the Nurse Practitioner program and other Co-op activities
Running community programs such as “Choices for a Healthy Lifestyle” and, if we have sufficient funding, the Hans Kai wellness program.

Do you want to get in touch with the Co-op?

Useful email addresses for the Victoria Health Co-op are: and

To find out about our fundraising needs or about donations, contacts for the Creating Community Wellness Charity are and

Mail or drop-off address for both VHC and CCWS is c/o 380 Cook St, Victoria V8V 3X7.

I will welcome calls at 250.415.9272 until September 18 and after October 11. Between those dates I will be “home” in Ireland for three weeks but will reply to emails.

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