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First of its kind ultrasound clinic opening on Vancouver Island

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B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix was at Camosun College on Thursday to unveil a new ultrasound clinic that's designed to fast-track specialized care for thousands.

The new ultrasound clinic officially opens at Camosun College's Interurban Campus in Saanich, B.C., next month.

It includes four ultrasound rooms where the public will be diagnosed and where students can train.

"[It's] killing two birds with one stone. We're helping our patients get better and quicker access to care and we're educating the newest generation of diagnostic medical sonographers right here on Vancouver Island," said Camosun College instructor Kendal Adam.

The outpatient clinic is the first of its kind in Canada, and is equipped with tools that will help monitor fetuses and diagnose a range of medical conditions, including cancer and heart disease.

The opening of the $1.2-million facility was unveiled to applause on Thursday. But some local leaders are still concerned about the state of healthcare in the region.

CALLS FOR ACCELERATED HELP

Former Colwood, B.C., mayor Dave Saunders has started a grassroots group to address the health-care crisis, and he says municipalities can play a much larger role.

"By relying on the higher levels of government are we being facilitated with the level of care that we need?" he said. "I can say clearly as a former mayor, no, we aren't."

He hosted a meeting Thursday night to lay out his vision for tackling the doctor shortage, which includes incentivizing developers to build clinics and homes that attract and retain health-care workers.

"[Developers] come in with a large proposal, we're able to say we need spaces for doctors and nurses – clinic space and affordable housing for doctors and nurses that are just starting out," he proposed.

On Thursday, Dix said he agreed that municipalities will need to help with the health-care crisis, especially with B.C.'s aging population.

"We have to work with municipal governments to make sure that there's access to available land for long-term care, for assisted living, for senior living, for adult day programs – frequently [that comes from] a municipal base," said Dix.

The new ultrasound clinic will open at Camosun on Feb. 6.

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