The next Urgent Primary Care Centre on Vancouver Island will open in Nanaimo.
BC Health Minister Adrian Dix made the announcement at Sheila Malcolmson’s campaign office Wednesday afternoon.
The provincial government has already opened five urgent primary care centres and it said it would add five more in the spring.
While Dix announced the news at Sheila Malcolmson’s campaign office, he said placing the care centre in Nanaimo has nothing to do with the ongoing byelection.
“There’s a significant need here, a large number of people are unattached to a family doctor and what urgent primary care centres do is, in addition to everything else, is provide after-hours and weekend care,” said Dix. “Often the reason people end up in the emergency room is there’s no other door open.”
Dix says Nanaimo Regional General Hospital has the highest ratio of people going to its emergency room that would be better served by other health care services in the community.
Dix says they’ve been working on setting up this primary care centre for months and he expects it will open April 1.
When asked if it might open at Nanaimo North Town Centre, which saw a large doctors office recently closed, he reiterated that he wasn’t going to announce the location yet.
Dix says the model works because it’s been generated by health professionals in the community and many want to work in teams.
He says there have been 600 expressions of interest to work from doctors and nurses.
The first primary care centre on Vancouver Island opened in Langford in November.