Since opening its doors in October, 2019, the Vernon Urgent and Primary Care Centre (UPCC) has served 1,274 patients already.
This is the 13th UPCC announced in the B.C. government’s primary care strategy and is expected to serve 42,000 patients annually in its new facility that will be open seven days a week, evenings, weekends and statutory holidays.
Health Minister Adrian Dix said in November the team-based care the centre will provide a “completely different model” from a walk-in clinic. The centre will seek to attach patients to a full-time primary care provider and take a team-based approach for certain types of cases, such as patients suffering from mental health and addictions.
Vernon’s several lagging areas underscore the need for more primary care. Dix specifically noted diabetes, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Diseases, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, dementia and mental health issues.
“All of these can be more effectively managed with ongoing primary care,” he said.
The Vernon UPCC, which is estimated to cost $3.5 million a year, operates in 3105 28th Avenue through a partnership between Interior Health and Shuswap North Okanagan Divisions of Family Practice.
The care centre in Kamloops, which opened in June, has seen 20,810 patients.
Kelowna opened its Urgent and Primary Care Centre on Jan. 9 on Harvey Avenue where a Bank of Montreal once stood.
With the new building, 22 full-time nurses, social workers, respiratory therapists, physiotherapists and other health-care providers will be working in the new space.