Minister of Health Adrian Dix. (Black Press Media files)

Province launches Vancouver’s first urgent primary care centre

Centre will be the fifth in B.C. as part of primary care strategy

The province is launching Vancouver’s first urgent primary care centre on Monday, according to Health Minister Adrian Dix.

Dix made the announcement Sunday at the new $1.9 million City Centre Urgent Primary Care Centre in the city’s West End.

The centre will provide “flexible and easily accessible option for primary care” to 35,000 nearby residents who do not have a primary care doctors, Dix said.

The centre is meant to take pressure off nearby hospitals, such as St. Paul’s Hospital and Vancouver General Hospital and is located at 1290 Hornby Street.

READ MORE: B.C. to spend $181M to create 200 general practitioner jobs

READ MORE: B.C. launches plan to tackle doctor shortage, emergency room congestions

“We want people to get the care they need in their community, and not end up in emergency rooms,” Dix said.

“It’s connecting people to the system,” Dix said, noting that going to the centre will allow people with less critical issues to not sit in an emergency room for hours.

But, Dix added, “if you have a healthcare emergency, you go to the emergency room.”

The province said that about one-third of emergency room visits at St. Paul’s and VGH could be dealt with by the centre.

The centre will have doctors, nurse practitioners, registered nurses and pharmacists and cost $3.7 million to operate each year.

It will provide help to people struggling with “mild to moderate mental health and substance abuse” issues.

READ MORE: B.C. on track to record same number of overdose deaths as last year

This is the province’s fifth urgent primary care centre, and the second one in Metro Vancouver. The region’s first centre opened in Surrey earlier this month.

The centre is part of the province’s primary care strategy, which aims to see 10 of these centres opened up across B.C., to provide “team-based care” to British Columbians unable to find a family doctor.

Dix said that about 750,000 people around B.C. do not have a primary care practitioner.


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