People living in the Central Okanagan will soon have better access to health care services with the opening of an urgent and primary care centre in Kelowna.
Minister of Health Adrian Dix broke the news Thursday afternoon, outside the health care centre’s new location in the Capri Plaza on Harvey Avenue.
“The new urgent and public care centre will help connect more people in Kelowna and the surrounding communities with the health care they need, when they need it,” said Dix.
“By increasing the number of publicly funded health-care professionals in the community, thousands of area residents who currently lack a primary care provider will benefit from increased access to same-day appointments for urgent needs, ongoing primary care, and better longitudinal care into the future.”
The operating cost of the centre is about $4.2 million a year and will be open seven days a week, creating full-time employment for more than 20 health care workers.
The centre will support about 63,000 patient visits per year for both urgent and primary care appointments.
Most importantly said Dix, the centre will also allow for patients without a family doctor to see a regular physician or nurse practitioner.
“One of the most common complaints in the emergency room is that the people who arrive would be better served in a doctors office or a primary care centre,” said Dix.
“We do see the centre relieving congestion at the Kelowna General Hospital for conditions that could more appropriately treated here (urgent and primary centre). We see it as providing care seven-days-a-week (at) hours an ordinary doctors office might not be open and addressing the needs of the tens of thousands of people in the region without a family doctor.”
The centre is expected to open for patients in late December this year.