Langford will be getting a new urgent care centre on Goldstream Avenue beside St. Anthony’s Centre, one of many to come according to the Ministry of Health.
Once operating at capacity, the ministry expects the new centre will provide 5,300 residents with a family doctor. But Langford Mayor Stew Young estimates approximately 30,000 people on the West Shore do not have a family doctor.
While he said it’s a good start, Young wants to ensure that all residents have access to a family physician in Langford and on the West Shore. “This has been a chronic shortage for 30 years,” Young added.
The Westshore Urgent Primary Care Centre is opening as part of the province’s new health care strategy, which aims to provide team-based health care by rolling out a total of 10 urgent care centres throughout the province by next spring. All physicians will be new health care providers to the region.
William Cunningham, the medical lead in developing this project said this model is a hybrid. Staff will include family physicians, nurse practitioners and a mental health clinician.
“With a team-based approach I think we can provide more care to more people in a really good way,” he said.
Urgent care will handle things people might go to the emergency room for, such as sutures or intravenous medications. The model hopes to assist in alleviating emergency room wait times as well.
The facility will start with three full-time health care professionals and will be able to accommodate a maximum of seven, including two family physicians.
“It will work by attaching people very formally to a family physician or a nurse practitioner who will also be working in teams to provide significantly more primary care in this area,” Cunningham said.
He noted a physician can typically see four to five people an hour, but they will be able to ramp it up once they find a second physician. In the future, the facility is hoping to accommodate 128 patient visits per day and more than 40,000 per year.
The care centre will open Monday, Nov. 5 and will operate from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Premier John Horgan said the province has plans for a centre in Sooke next.
Health Minister Adrian Dix added the province has been trying to add health care professionals to the existing primary care network in Sooke. “We’re working very hard to get that done,” Dix said.