People living in the central Okanagan will soon have better access to team-based everyday health care, with the opening of an urgent and primary care centre in Kelowna.
“The new urgent and primary care centre will help connect more people in Kelowna and the surrounding communities with the health care they need, when they need it,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “By increasing the number of publicly funded health-care professionals in the community, thousands of area residents who currently lack a primary care provider will benefit from increased access to same day appointments for urgent needs, ongoing primary care and better longitudinal care into the future.”
In consultation with the Central Okanagan Division of Family Practice, Interior Health has leased a standalone property to deliver urgent and primary care services. The clinic will operate seven days a week, including evenings, weekends and statutory holidays.
In addition to hiring registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, social workers, respiratory therapists and physiotherapists, the Kelowna Urgent Primary Care Centre will recruit the full-time equivalent of five general practitioner and two nurse practitioner positions to treat patients in Kelowna. In total, the centre will employ the equivalent of 22 full-time employees.
The annual operating cost of the centre will be approximately $4.2 million.
The centre is expected to start seeing patients in late December 2019. It will deliver urgent and primary care services, and, as importantly, it will also work to connect patients without a family doctor to a regular physician or nurse practitioner.
Using a team-based care approach, once fully operational the centre will provide an expected 63,000 additional patient visits per year for both urgent and primary care appointments to support the residents who reside in central Kelowna.
This is the 11th urgent and primary care centre to be announced under the government’s primary care strategy and the second in the Interior Health authority region. The first Interior Health urgent and primary care centre is located in Kamloops and has served 9,300 patient visits since opening on June 12, 2018.
- Primary care is the day-to-day health care given by a health-care provider.
- Urgent primary care is the care that people need within 12 to 24 hours for conditions such as sprains, urinary problems, ear infections, minor cuts or burns.
- Urgent primary care centres are part of a comprehensive strategy to transform B.C.’s health system by bringing together and co-ordinating with health-care providers, services and programs to make it easier for people to access care, receive follow-up and connect to other services they may need.
- The primary care strategy will see government fund and recruit 200 family doctors and 200 nurse practitioners, and hire 50 clinical pharmacists, to help provide all British Columbians with faster and improved access to health care.
To learn more about the Province’s primary health-care strategy, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2018PREM0034-001010
To learn more about the Province’s strategy to increase the number of nurse practitioners, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2018HLTH0034-000995
To learn more about the Province’s strategy to recruit and retain more family medicine graduates, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2018HLTH0052-001043
Two backgrounders follow.