B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan. The province announced Wednesday that a new urgent and primary care centre opened in downtown Victoria on July 19. (Courtesy of the B.C. government)

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan. The province announced Wednesday that a new urgent and primary care centre opened in downtown Victoria on July 19. (Courtesy of the B.C. government)

Province opens new urgent, primary care centre in Victoria

New networks to connect region’s health practitioners, increase access for patients

A new urgent and primary care centre (UPCC), hailed as the largest in the province, opened in downtown Victoria on July 19 to provide better same-day, urgent and non-emergency health care to the region’s patients.

That’s according to a news release from the province that also announced four new primary care networks, which will serve patients in Victoria, Saanich and Oak Bay.

The province said the urgent and primary care centres connect people who don’t have a family doctor or nurse practitioner with a range of health-care professionals. The UPCC will also aim to alleviate pressure on emergency rooms by offering after-hours and weekend care options.

The goal of the four primary care networks is to link family practitioners in Greater Victoria with a range of health-care professionals, giving patients a wide range of care services, the province said. Those professionals include nurse practitioners, nurses, mental-health therapists and more.

The local networks were developed to meet the community’s specific needs, the release said. They aim to provide better access to care for those with mild to moderate mental health conditions, better coordinated services for families, frail seniors and people with complex health issues, more access to comprehensive services for people living in poverty, and culturally safe care for Indigenous peoples.

READ: Mobile health clinic extends services to Victoria’s vulnerable population

The four Greater Victoria networks aim to recruit about 96 full-time health practitioners from 13 different medical disciplines within the next four years.

Two mobile medical vans will be made available through the primary care networks. One will provide in-home visits for patients who have difficulty accessing primary care and will mainly serve Gordon Head and Oak Bay, but will travel on an “at-need basis,” the release said. The second van, owned by Cool Aid Society, will be a mobile medical clinic for Victoria’s vulnerable and unhoused populations.

According to the release, 19 per cent of downtown Victoria residents are not attached to a family physician.

The UPCC is located at 1107 Pandora Ave. and is currently open from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Once it’s fully staffed those hours will be extended to 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week, including statutory holidays.

The $5 million centre had $1.4 million contributed by the Capital Regional Hospital District and $500,000 by the Landlord Tenant Improvement Allowance.

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