VICTORIA – A new urgent and primary care centre is set to open in James Bay in the spring, according to an announcement made by the B.C. government Monday.

The health facility will offer same-day health care service by doctors, nurses and mental health and substance-use clinicians 365 days a year, according to the province. It will also provide ongoing primary care through booked appointments.

“The new urgent and primary care centre will help connect more people in Victoria with the health care they need, when they need it,” said Adrian Dix, B.C. Minister of Health, in a statement. 

"By increasing the number of publicly funded health-care professionals in the community, thousands of people who currently lack a primary care provider will benefit from increased access to same-day appointments for urgent needs and improved access to regular, ongoing primary care into the future."

Urgent primary care is defined as health care for conditions that need to be addressed within 12 to 24 hours, like sprains, urinary problems, ear infections, burns or minor cuts.

According to the province, besides offering a range of health care services, the new facility will help relieve pressure from busy emergency rooms across the island.

"Not only will this urgent and primary care centre bring much needed services to Victoria, but it will also help to reduce congestion at the emergency departments in our region," said Carole James, MLA for Victoria-Beacon Hill.

The urgent and primary care centre will open at the James Bay Community Project property at 547 Michigan St. The space was previously used as a clinic by two general practitioners who have since moved to the Yates-Quadra Medical Clinic in downtown Victoria, along with their patients.

The new James Bay health facility will be run by Island Health and is expected to see tens of thousands of patient visits each year. 

The upcoming health facility in Victoria marks the third urgent and primary care centre to come to the island as part of the province's new primary care strategy. The first centre opened in Langford in October 2018, and since then has seen more than 23,000 patient visits.

The second centre opened in Nanaimo in June 2019, and the province expects it to serve close to 25,000 patient visits per year. 

The Victoria urgent and primary care centre is set to open in March 2020, following a series of property renovations.