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New urgent and primary care centre opens at Gorge Road Hospital in Victoria

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A new urgent and primary care centre (UPCC) has opened at the Gorge Road Hospital in Victoria. The problem is, few know it even exists.

"I couldn’t believe it," said Justin Henry, who is without a family doctor. "I drove in here this morning and it’s wide open."

Henry is living with advanced Parkinson’s disease. He’s one of nearly 100,000 people in the capital region without a family doctor.

He’s tried numerous times to get into many of Island Health’s new urgent care centres.

"They are very slow," said Henry. "If you go, you have to put at least four to six hours into any one of them if you want to see somebody."

The new clinic at the Gorge Road Hospital opened its doors at 8 a.m. Monday.

On Tuesday morning, Henry was the only one in the clinic when he arrived.

“I came in at 9:30 a.m. and the doctor promptly saw me,” said Henry. “It was first class.”

He found out about the clinic from his daughter but it doesn’t seem like many others know it’s open.

Island Health tells CTV News it’s not yet fully staffed.

The UPCC model was created by the province to ease pressure on B.C.'s strained health-care system.

Another solution to the crisis came last month, when B.C.'s Health Ministry announced a $118-million injection to help primary care providers stay open.

The province says more than 4,500 doctors will receive funding starting next month, with 1,100 of them working in walk-in clinics.

The new clinic is one of six now in Greater Victoria. Most are booked solid daily.

"I can’t get referred anywhere so that’s part of the reason that I came here, to try to get something done without having a family doctor,” said Henry. “I have gotten a little further bit ahead but it’s a pretty intricate system."

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