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New urgent heath care centre opens in Kelowna

Image Credit: ADOBE STOCK
January 09, 2020 - 3:20 PM

The Interior’s third Urgent and Primary Care Centre opened in the Capri Centre Mall in Kelowna today, Jan. 9, joining facilities in Vernon and Kamloops.

The new Kelowna care centre is expected to take pressure off emergency rooms and help connect patients to family doctors.

"Thousands of area residents who currently lack a primary-care provider will benefit from increased access to same-day appointments for urgent needs and ongoing primary care, as well being able to find a doctor or care provider for regular, ongoing primary care,” Health Minister Adrian Dix said in a news release.

The urgent care centres are designed to help people with non-life threatening conditions who need treatment within 12 to 24 hours but don't need an emergency department and who don’t have a family doctor.

More than 33,000 Central Okanagan residents don’t have family doctors and about 27 per cent of visits to the Kelowna General Hospital emergency department could be dealt with in other places, such as an urgent and primary-care centre, the ministry said.

The Kelowna centre has 22 full-time equivalent practitioners, including physicians, nurse practitioners, nurses, social workers, respiratory therapists and physiotherapists.

It will initially be open from 1 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., seven days a week, 365 days a year. Over the next few months, hours are expected to expand to 9:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. every day.

It cost about $2 million to set up and will cost about $4.2 million a year to operate.

The Kamloops centre was opened in June 2018 and has dealt with 20,810 patient visits so far. Vernon's centre opened in October 2019 and has had 1,274 visits.

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