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Urgent and Primary Care Centre planned for Saanich; nurse-practitioner clinic launching on Yates

An Urgent and Primary Care Centre is expected to open on Chatterton Way in Saanich in November.
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An Urgent and Primary Care Centre is expected to open on Chatterton Way in Saanich in November.

The province is expected to make the announcement today, along with launching a new primary care clinic operated by nurse practitioners on Yates Street, set to open Sept. 28.

The first Island Urgent and Primary Care Centre opened in Langford in November 2018, followed by Nanaimo and James Bay. One is planned for Esquimalt in the spring.

The Urgent and Primary Care Centre model is intended to provide same-day access for people with non-emergency illnesses and injuries who need to be seen within 12 to 24 hours, relieving pressure on hospital emergency rooms.

They are also meant to “attach” patients to family doctors at the centre or in the community, and offer patients ongoing care through appointments with doctors and nurse practitioners.

“All this reflects our response, a modern response, a team-based response, to what people need in Victoria,” B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix said in a phone interview Thursday.

The region is grappling with a shortage of physicians, with many due to retire, and the challenges of an aging population.

“People need, because of the makeup of the population, they need better primary care, and my commitment is just to keep working on, to keep building it out, and to keep building from a base of support in the community,” said Dix.

The new UPCC replaces the former walk-in Care Point Medical Centre at the same location, 100-4420 Chatterton Way in Saanich.

That clinic was not closed to make way for the UPCC, which is simply making use of an available health-care site, said Dix.

The new health-care team is expected to include family physicians, nurse practitioners, registered nurses and allied health professionals.

Health Care on Yates, at 1139 Yates St., is the second nurse-practitioner-operated facility on the Island after Nanaimo and the third in the province. Another one is located in Surrey.

The clinic is undergoing renovations but last month began registering patients — 550 as of Sept. 10.

Now open for virtual appointments, Health Care on Yates will be available for in-person and same-day appointments after renovations are completed in October.

When fully staffed, the clinic will include registered nurses, a social worker and a mental-health and substance-use clinician.

The goal is to furnish 6,800 people with a primary-care provider, “which is a significant achievement,” said Dix. “It’s why we are providing them with annual operating funding to build them up to be fully staffed.”

The province will provide annual operating funding of approximately $2 million when the clinic is fully staffed, and one-time start-up costs of $445,500.

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