People in Esquimalt and neighbouring communities now have access to more comprehensive everyday health care with the opening of the Esquimalt urgent and primary care centre (UPCC).
Its permanent new location is at 890 Esquimalt Rd.
“A new, permanent location for primary care in Esquimalt means that more people will have expanded access to the team-based, comprehensive health care they need,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “This is an example of our primary care strategy at work, increasing and improving access to everyday primary health care throughout the province.”
The UPCC will serve two purposes. The first will be providing care for people experiencing non-life-threatening conditions, such as an ankle sprain or a sore throat, who need to see a health-care provider within 12 to 24 hrs, but do not require an emergency department visit. The second purpose will be attaching patients to a regular primary care provider if they do not have one.
Opening in a phased approach, a team of 11 full-time equivalent (FTE) health-care workers, including physicians, nurses, mental health and substance use consultants, and social workers, is providing urgent care at the centre seven days a week, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., including statutory holidays. The centre is open for people who need to see a health-care provider within 12 to 24 hours, but do not require a level of service available in an emergency department. Services include diagnosis and treatment of illness, screening and chronic disease management.
Anyone is invited to access the Esquimalt UPCC for same day, urgent care or non-life-threatening conditions. Due to COVID-19, patients are asked to call ahead when possible. Starting at 8 a.m. each day, people can call to secure an urgent care appointment as required. Patients who do not have access to a telephone can attend in person and, after 8:30 a.m., will be added to the registration queue when they arrive.
Once fully operational, comprehensive primary care and patient attachment services will also be available to help attach local residents who do not have a regular doctor or nurse practitioner to a primary care provider. The UPCC’s full team is anticipated to include approximately 23 FTE health-care providers, such as family physicians, registered nurses and allied health professionals, including social workers and mental-health and substance-use counsellors.
“This is great news for people in Esquimalt, whose health will benefit from the expanded services and extended hours at the new home for our UPCC,” said Mitzi Dean, MLA for Esquimalt-Metchosin. “More people will get timely treatment at the clinic and those who don’t have a regular primary care provider can get help securing one.”
Island Health will continue to operate the UPCC with the support of the Ministry of Health and the Capital Regional Hospital District. It is a part of the Western Communities Primary Care Network.
This is one of the 26 UPCCs announced under the government’s primary care strategy. To date, six UPCCs have been announced in the Island Health region, including Westshore, Nanaimo, James Bay (Victoria), North Quadra (Victoria), Downtown Victoria and Esquimalt.
- Primary care is the day-to-day health care given by a health-care provider.
- UPCCs 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.
- Primary care networks were developed as part of B.C.’s primary care strategy to better meet the specific needs of the community and to strengthen high priority services.
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
A backgrounder follows.