People living in Vernon now have better access to team-based everyday health care, with the opening of an urgent and primary care centre.
“The new urgent and primary care centre will help connect more people in Vernon 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 people 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 Shuswap North Okanagan Division of Family Practice, Interior Health has opened the Vernon Urgent and Primary Care Centre by expanding services at the Vernon Downtown Primary Care Clinic. It will transition to a new permanent location in early 2020. The clinic will operate seven days a week, including evenings, weekends and statutory holidays.
The centre started seeing patients in October 2019. It will deliver urgent and primary care services, and equally as important, it will also work to connect patients without a family doctor to a regular physician or nurse practitioner.
The Vernon Urgent and Primary Care Centre will recruit general practitioners, nurse practitioners, nurses, social workers and mental health and substance use clinicians to treat patients in Vernon.
The annual operating cost of the centre will be approximately $3.5 million.
Using a team-based care approach, the centre will provide an expected 42,000 additional patient visits per year once fully operational.
This is the thirteenth urgent and primary care centre to be announced under the government’s primary care strategy and the third in the Interior Health authority region. The first is located in Kamloops and has served more than 10,320 patient visits since opening on June 12, 2018. The Kelowna Urgent Primary Care Centre is expected to start seeing patients late December 2019.
- 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 and 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.