Here's how Kamloops's new urgent primary care centre will work | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Kamloops News

Here's how Kamloops's new urgent primary care centre will work

KAMLOOPS - Accessible, same-day healthcare is hard to find in Kamloops if you don't have a family doctor, but a new project aims to fix that.

A new urgent primary care centre in Kamloops opened its doors earlier this week and Health Minister Adrian Dix said it would help mitigate congestion in the Royal Inland Hospital emergency room.

Executive director of primary and community care transformation with Interior Health, Jason Giesbrecht, says this new team-based approach to healthcare is the first of its kind in B.C.

“What that means is when a person comes to the centre, we want to ensure that person sees the right type of clinician," Giesbrecht says. 

Often when people go to their primary care provider, whether it's a nurse practitioner or general practitioner, they can be referred to a specialist, which can mean another appointment weeks down the road, Giesbrecht says. Having a team of healthcare providers means referrals will happen the same day if a patient needs a doctor, nurse, physiotherapist or a social worker.

“Its also important to remember, say a patient comes and sees Clinician X and gets referred to someone else and maybe referred to someone else, if that’s one visit in the primary care centre that’s a time saver," Giesbrecht says.

Because the Kamloops urgent primary care centre is the first of its kind in B.C. it will take some time to find the best way to help patients, but Giesbrecht points out there are team-based healthcare models across the country, including in Alberta, Manitoba and Ontario.

While the project gets up and running, the urgent primary care centre will treat patients who have been referred to the centre by either their primary care provider, or the Royal Inland Hospital's emergency department. If someone presents at the emergency room with something like a laceration, wound, skin condition, infection, minor illness or minor injury they would be referred to the urgent primary care centre for treatment.

The centre will be for people who don't need urgent care, but need to be seen within 12 to 24 hours.

Giesbrecht says this is part of making sure the emergency room can focus on its main priority of life-threatening emergencies.

For people with a primary care provider like a family doctor or nurse practitioner, he says if there's a situation like your child is sick and your doctor is unable to see them that day, they can refer you to the urgent primary care centre for treatment.

As for now, self-referral is not an option, but Giesbrecht says the vision is for the clinic to be open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days per week, every day of the year.

"It's really important that people in the community consider their options before going to the emergency department," Giesbrecht says. "Many people go straight to the emergency department without trying their general practitioner or nurse practitioner.”

There are several other resources people can use for non-emergency issues, Giesbrecht says, including limited prescription renewals from your pharmacist and calling 811 to seek advice.

The urgent primary care centre opened its doors Tuesday evening, June 12.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Ashley Legassic or call 250-319-7494 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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