New primary care centre now open in Maple Ridge

Located at Ridge Meadows Hospital, 12th in the province

Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows new Urgent and Primary Care Centre opens tonight at 6 p.m. and you can just walk right in with whatever’s bothering you that’s not an emergency.

“You do not need a referral to come to an urgent and primary care centre. You just walk through the door,” said Dr. Ursula Luitingh with the Ridge Meadows Division of Family Practice.

She, along with Health Minister Adrian Dix and both MLAs were at the Friday opening of the centre located on the ground floor of Baillie House, next to the Ridge Meadows Hospital. Hours initially will be from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., weeknights, with hours expanding to 12 hours a day, seven days week by December. A permanent site will be found by 2020.

The centre will offer treatment for non-emergency health issues, everything from sprains and minor cuts, to infections, fevers, sore throats and ear aches. Mental health and substance abuse counselling, home health care and referrals to family doctors or nurses are also available at urgent and primary care centres. So far, 12 such centres have opened in B.C.

Dix added later that the centres are not intended to parallel services offered by family doctors but instead integrate health services and thus speed access to health care. Sometimes, for example, patients can be helped more quickly by a nurse or dietician.

“What we’re not looking to do is to build new edifices. What were interested in doing is providing excellent services,” Dix said.

“This is team-based care,” which involves doctors and a range of health care professionals, he added.

Dix also announced the formation of two primary care networks, one each in Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge, that will offer better connection to health care professionals.

That involves hiring about 41 health care professionals over the next three years, including 11 full-time doctors, six nurses, pharmacists, social workers, and clinical counsellors. Included is a part-time nurse to support Katzie First Nation members. The network will focus on providing maternity care, doctor referrals, chronic care and indigenous health and mental health.

The goal is to be serving 19,000 patients within three years.

Annual operating cost for the two networks is $6.5 million, while the urgent and primary care centre will cost $1.7 million yearly.

The initiatives are intended to help fill the gaps in health care. Dix said when he became health minister, more than 18,000 people in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows didn’t have their own doctor.

“This is a reform that has been needed for a long time,” he added. Dix said the Ridge Meadows Division of Family Practice, “is one of the most progressive, thinking groups in health care, and that’s why we’re achieving this together.

“What’s happening here in Maple Ridge today is historic for everybody who lives in the community.” Many family doctors are nearing retirement or cutting back their hours.

“This is a reform that was developed here. It’s a provincial policy but this is a change that was developed here,” Dix said.

He added that 200 new doctors and 200 new nurses will be added to primary care networks across the province.

Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows MLA Lisa Beare said she was proud of her government’s action to increase action to health care.

“Sometimes we say it can be really difficult to be indigenous in today’s world, because we have to juggle our spirituality and our … beliefs around the day-to-day business,” said Katzie First Nation Chief Grace George. “And it can become really difficult and challenging to navigate what that looks like,” George said. But to be truly happy, we need to be healthy in every way, she added.

Primary care centres will be open in the evening and are expected to help ease the crowding in emergency wards.

The new initiatives will over better continuity of care, said Dr. Victoria Lee, CEO with Fraser Health.



pmelnychuk@mapleridgenews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Just Posted

LETTER: Pandemic a little surreal for this guy

One day soon, COVID-19 will simply be a footnote: one Maple Ridge reader

GUEST VIEW: Media importance never more apparent than with COVID-19

In swan-song column, reporter Phil Melnychuk suggests more concerted PR early on might have helped

Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows MLA Lisa Beare announces $3 million in provincial funding for Arts and Culture

Eligible clients will receive supplement of up to $15,000 in early April to help pay bills

Historical artifact found in Maple Ridge returned to Katzie First Nation

Katzie chief Grace George is grateful to have stone maul returned

‘Possibilities are endless’ at Black Press digital career fair

Black Press Digital Career and Education Fair begins April 4

Trudeau announces 75% wage subsidy for small businesses amid COVID-19

This is up from the previously announced 10 per cent wage subsidy

World update, 9:30 p.m. March 27: Positive news in Korea as U.S. hits 100,000 cases

The United States now has the most coronavirus cases of any country in the world

VIDEO: Penguins roam empty halls of Vancouver Aquarium

COVID-19 has forced the Vancouver Aquarium to close access to guests – leaving room for its residents

Significant snowfall forecast for Interior mountain passes

Allison Pass, the Okanagan Connector, Rogers Pass and Kootenay Pass could see 15 to 25 cm of snow

Kids get back to learning in B.C., online

Ministry of Education rolls out new tool for school

67 more B.C. COVID-19 cases, two more deaths in Vancouver region

Positive tests found in Surrey, Langley long-term care facilities

‘Now is not the time to bag that peak’: BCSAR manager discourages risky outdoor adventures

Call volumes are not going down, even as the COVID-19 pandemic persists

Food Banks BC already seeing surge in demand due to COVID-19 pandemic

Executive director Laura Lansink said they expect applications will keep increasing

Nanaimo couple caught aboard cruise ship with four dead and COVID-19 present

Four ‘older guests’ have died on Holland America’s Zaandam; cruise line confirms two COVID-19 cases

Most Read