VICTORIA — A new urgent and primary care centre is open in downtown Victoria, B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix announced Wednesday.
The centre opened on July 19 near the corner of Pandora and Cook streets.
Urgent and primary care centres (UPCC) provide medical services for urgent needs that require medical treatment within 24 hours, such as minor cuts or burns, sprains, ear infections or urinary problems.
The UPCC is part of the larger introduction of four new primary care networks to the Greater Victoria region, which will serve approximately 200,000 people across Victoria, Saanich and Oak Bay.
Primary care networks are teams of health-care workers, such as doctors, nurse practitioners and counsellors, who work together to provide primary care.
It’s an alternative to the traditional family doctor system, which is based on a sole practitioner rather than a team, according to Dix.
Primary care networks make it easier for patients to access care while maintaining continuity of care, says Dix, compared to having a sole family doctor.
“These four new primary care networks will deliver, first of all, more resources and care in the next few years,” said the health minister at a news conference Wednesday.
Through urgent and primary care centres, patients will be attached to their centre, instead of to specific doctors. The move ensures that patients can continue to receive care even if their usual doctor is unavailable, according to the province.
Dix says that primary care networks also provide benefits for health-care staff, such as expanded resources and streamlined referral processes.
He adds that more full-time health-care workers will be joining the networks over the next four years.
In total, roughly 96 full-time health practitioners will be added to the region, including family physicians, registered nurses, physiotherapists, and mental health counsellors.
Moving forward, the primary care networks will also have a focus on mental health and addictions services in the Greater Victoria area, including for vulnerable communities, according to Dix.
While primary care networks emphasize team-based care, the networks will also work to connect patients with a primary care provider, which many residents have struggled to find in B.C. in recent years.