New urgent and primary care facility to be established in Nanaimo
A new urgent and primary care clinic is coming to Nanaimo, the province announced Wednesday.
Health minister Adrian Dix, Nanaimo MLA Sheila Malcolmson and Island Health officials made the announcement at the Vancouver Island Conference Centre in Nanaimo.
The new facility will be installed on South Terminal Avenue in the Port Place mall, and will expand the existing Medical Arts Centre clinic.
The facility will make doctors, nurses, nurse practitioners and other health professionals available to the public, and in particular, vulnerable populations like seniors, the homeless or those with addictions issues.
The centre will include extended hours and same-day appointments and is expected to be operational by early June. The annual operating cost will be approximately $2.7 million.
The care centre will join six similar facilities that have already been built or announced in cities like Surrey, Langford, Vancouver and Burnaby.
The government touted the benefits of urgent and primary care centres, which consolidate multiple health services and other programs under one roof in an approach called team-based care.
"Team-based care that addresses the needs of the community will soon become the pillar of our new primary-care system, and it will be how everyone in Nanaimo and across the province access the everyday health care they need," said Dix.
"The urgent and primary care centre in Nanaimo is a first step for the community, and we have the vision to expand and transform this centre into a full primary-care network in the future."
Dix said that roughly 15,500 people in Nanaimo are without a family doctor or nurse practitioner. Province-wide, that number is estimated to be 780,000.
The new facility is expected to support up to 25,000 additional patient visits per year. It will be the second urgent and primary care clinic on Vancouver Island after a facility was opened in Langford last November.
The province has previously stated that it aims to open at least 10 urgent and primary care centres within the next decade.