The B.C. government has announced plans to open an urgent and primary care centre (UPCC) in the community of Esquimalt.
The new facility in Esquimalt will offer extended hours of primary care providers to improve access to services in the municipality. These services include same-day care and ongoing primary care through booked appointments.
Urgent primary care is categorized as the care people need within 12 to 24 hours. This includes conditions such as sprains, urinary problems, ear infections, minor cuts or burns.
The care centre will open in a temporary space by late spring of 2021, the government said in a press release on Friday.
“As part of our primary care strategy, we’re moving forward with a new urgent and primary care centre in Esquimalt to help connect more people with the team-based and comprehensive health care they need, when they need it,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “Thousands of area residents who currently lack a primary care provider will benefit from increased access to same-day appointments for urgent needs and ongoing primary care.”
The new UPCC, which will be operated by Island Health, is in response to the recent departure of family physician practices from the community, says the Province.
“This is great news for the community and the capital region as-a-whole,” said Mitzi Dean, MLA for Esquimalt-Metchosin. “Not only will this urgent and primary care centre bring much-needed services to people in Esquimalt, but it will also help residents to be connected to a consistent primary care provider closer to home.”
The facility is considered to be a short-term solution as the government said Island Health and the Esquimalt Township are continuing to develop a longer-term primary care strategy moving forward.
The Esquimalt care centre will also provide job opportunities, recruiting general practitioners, nurse practitioners, nurses and allied health clinicians.
This is the fourth urgent and primary care centre to be announced in the Island Health region as part of the provincial government’s primary care strategy.
The first urgent and primary care centre to open in the Island Health region, located in Langford, has surpassed 42,000 patient visits since opening in November 2018, the government said in a press release.
The other centres include one in Nanaimo and one in James Bay.
The province has also established its first nurse practitioner primary care clinic in Nanaimo as part of their ongoing health care strategy.