A first-of-its kind clinic in the Fraser Valley is promising to give Indigenous people access to culturally safe and holistic care.

The facility provides services for First Nations, Métis, and Inuit families at two locations south of the Fraser River:

  • The Fraser Region Aboriginal Friendship Centre Association clinic in Whalley
  • The Kla-How-Eya Healing Place at the Guilford Public Health Unit.

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix says the new model for improving care for First Nations people is a "team-based" approach.

"The wellness home delivers a model of team-based care that is rooted in cultural values and a traditional wellness approach to health," said Dix at a news conference in Surrey.

The Indigenous Primary Health and Wellness Home uses a "circle of care" approch, where people with multiple health concerns get support from a circle of care co-ordinator.

The wellness home staff includes a physician, nurse practioners, circle of care co-ordinators, as well as primary care and psychiatric nurses, licensed practical nurses, a social worker and medical office assistants.

"First Nations leaders have told us to improve health services for all of our people - those living at home and those living away from home," said Grand Chief Doug Kelly, chair of the First Nations Health Council.

Chief Kelly said the Surrey area is home to the largest Indigenous population in the province, and that delivering productive help through the partnership was a positive step for the community.

"Our citizens want care that reflects both our traditional teachings and the best of western medicine."