A temporary Urgent and Primary Care Centre has been open in Vernon since October, and a permanent centre will be opened next spring, B.C. Ministry of Health announced. (Black Press files)

New urgent and primary care centre to open in North Okanagan

Health minister announces new centre in Vernon; Kelowna centre to open in December

  • Nov. 12, 2019 11:29 a.m.

Patients in Vernon will now have better access to health care with the opening of a third urgent and primary care centre in the Interior.

The Vernon Urgent and Primary Care Centre is the 13th urgent and primary care centre to be announced in the B.C. government’s primary care strategy and is expected to serve 42,000 additional patient visits once fully operational in early 2020. The facility in Kamloops has served more than 10,320 patients since its opening in June 2018 and a facility in Kelowna is expected to open in December.

Interior Health first opened the centre to patients in October, but it will transition to its permanent facility location early next year. There, the clinic will operate seven days a week, evenings, weekends and statuary holidays.

Health Minister Adrian Dix said the team-based care the centre will provide a “completely different model” from a walk-in clinic. The centre will seek to attach patients to a full-time primary care provider and take a team-based approach for certain types of cases, such as patients suffering from mental health and addictions.

Dix highlighted several lagging areas in Vernon’s health profile that underscore the need for more primary care.

“If you compare Vernon to the provincial average, Vernon has higher rates of diabetes, of COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), of heart disease, Alzheimer’s and dementia, and a higher prevalence of anxiety and depression. “All of these can be more effectively managed with ongoing primary care.”

Following his appointment to the Health portfolio in 2017, Dix said 700,000 British Columbians were without a family doctor and centres like this will help remedy that.

“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 the increased access to same-day appointments for urgent needs, ongoing primary care and better longitudinal care into the future,” Dix said.

The Vernon Urgent and Primary Care Centre, which is estimated to cost $3.5 million a year, will be operated at 3105 28th Avenue through a partnership between Interior Health and Shuswap North Okanagan Divisions of Family Practice. It will recruit general and nurse practitioners, nurses, social workers, mental health and substance-use clinicians to support Vernonite’s medical needs.

“This centre will increase access to care for our vulnerable and marginalized population, and provide a supportive, team-based care environment in which doctors can provide patient-centred care as part of a team,” Shuswap North Okanagan Division of Family Practice executive director Tracey Kirkman said. “The Vernon Urgent and Primary Care Centre will enhance our existing network of primary care services and improve the health of our community.”

READ MORE: B.C. health minister announces urgent care centre for Central Okanagan residents

READ MORE: Cutting-edge MRI machine comes to Vernon Jubilee Hospital


Brendan Shykora
Reporter, Vernon Morning Star
Email me at Brendan.Shykora@vernonmorningstar.com
Follow us: Facebook | Twitter

Just Posted

Penticton shelter meeting current need, accepting donations of blankets, clothing

The shelter offers 30 beds year-round and 25 more temporarily over the winter

Okanagan Similkameen could have a sister city in the south of France

Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen considering agreement with wine region in southern France

Nature Wise: Thoughts in parting

Bob Handfield passes Nature Wise column on

Bob Ross is coming to Penticton in 2020

32 of the late painter and TV celebrity’s works will be on display at the Penticton Art Gallery

Princess Maggie presents Children’s Winter Carnival on Dec. 14

The Leadership class is hosting the event from 12:30 to 4 p.m.

VIDEO: Boys help rescue Cariboo bear cub

The cub, weighing just 24lbs, has been taken to wildlife sanctuary in Northwest B.C. for the winter

Doors open to Vernon’s first refill store

Vernon’s Refill Store may be answer to plastics problem

Okanagan RCMP not toying around when it comes to impaired drivers

Saturday, Dec. 7 is National Impaired Driving Enforcement Day

‘Things haven’t changed enough:’ Ecole Polytechnique anniversary prompts reflection

Fourteen women were fatally shot by a gunman at the Montreal school on Dec. 6, 1989

Bear raids freezer, gorges on Island family’s Christmas baking

Hungry bruin virtually ignored meat and fish, focused, instead, on the sweets

Crown delves into Sagmoen’s history with North Okanagan sex workers

Decision on validity of police search warrant will be made on Monday, Dec. 9

Kelowna man attempts to steal bait bike from RCMP parking lot

38-year-old Brian Richard Harbison is facing several charges

Summerland businesses participate in Sip N’ Shop

Downtown event on Dec. 14 will feature local beverages

B.C. pharmaceutical company’s stocks double in value after successful lupus drug trial

More than 40 per cent of patients using voclosporin saw improvements in kidney function

Most Read