The expanded Martin Street Urgent and Primary Care Centre and Ponderosa Primary Care Clinic in Penticton are intended to round out what health care is available in the community.
They are also how the B.C. Ministry of Health wants to see care be delivered in the future. “Penticton is a model for British Columbia,” said Health Minister Adrian Dix after the announcement for the Martin Street urgent care centre on March 9.
“We’re proud of Ponderosa, and working with all of the people for the urgent and primary care centre is one more step towards providing the primary care people in the South Okanagan Similkameen deserve.”
Dix was joined by Dr. Greg Selinger with the South Okanagan Similkameen Division of Family Practice, Interior Health chief executive officer Susan Brown, Dr. Kyle Stevens, Ooknakane Friendship Centre executive director Matthew Baran and patient Shawn Kelley to announce the new urgent and primary care centre on Martin Street, expected to open March 31.
The urgent and primary care centre will be an expansion to the existing Martin Street Outreach Centre, where Stevens works out of.
When the clinic first opened, four doctors expressed interest in working there and 250 people were expected to need service. Currently, the Outreach Centre provides care for over 1,200 people who are served by nine physicians, a nurse practitioner, and a full-time social worker.
In addition to expanding the service that Martin Street currently provides to individuals dealing with mental health and addictions who have trouble finding family doctors, the centre will provide urgent care for people on weekends and in evenings, hours that are traditionally difficult to find care for outside of going to the emergency department.
Once the urgent care centre is fully open, it will provide care on weekends from noon until 6 p.m., and in the evenings during the week from 5 to 8 p.m.
There will 14 full-time health care staff with more expected to join over time.
Urgent care centres like Martin Street will help to relieve doctors who already have their family practices and have been also working to provide some urgent after-hours care for the community. Meeting the needs of the many people in the South Okanagan without a family doctor was the goal of establishing the primary care network, said Dix.
To build up the supply of care for communities, the health ministry has put funding towards avenues like Ponderosa and Martin Street.
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