The Primary Urgent Care Centre on Martin Street has officially opened today, March 31, 2021. (Brennan Phillips)

The Primary Urgent Care Centre on Martin Street has officially opened today, March 31, 2021. (Brennan Phillips)

Urgent and Primary Care Centre opens doors on Penticton’s Martin Street

The new facility was officially announced on March 10

The expanded urgent and primary care centre at Martin Street is now open.

The expansion to the existing Martin Street Outreach Centre will allow more people in Penticton access to care for ongoing and urgent needs.

“The opening of the Penticton UPCC is excellent news for people living in the region,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “The centre will help connect more people with the health care they need when they need it most. Area residents who currently do not have a primary care provider will benefit from increased access to same-day appointments for urgent needs and ongoing primary care.”

At present, 14 full-time equivalent (FTE) clinical health-care professionals are working at the centre, including physicians, nurse practitioners, nurses and allied health professionals. By the end of April, it’s expected there will be 19 FTE health care workers and administrative workers recruited.

READ MORE: Penticton primary care a ‘model for the province’ says Minister Dix

The team will be first focused on providing long-term primary care services for people with mental health and substance use needs from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday to Friday. These services include complex care management, mental health and substance-use health care, opioid agonist treatment, women’s health support and counselling referrals.

Beginning April 12, the UPCC will increase urgent primary care services, Monday to Thursday 5 to 8 p.m. and Saturday noon to 6 p.m. with services on Friday and Sunday coming later.

This means more access to same-day care for people who need health care within 12 to 24 hours, but don’t require an emergency department, such as people with sprains, cuts, high fevers and minor infections.

The $2.5 million expansion provides over 6,000 square-feet of space for the urgent and primary care centre, including a reception and waiting area, exam rooms, consultation rooms and other rooms.

The UPCC will help attach patients to regular primary care providers by connecting patients to health-care providers in the community, in collaboration with the South Okanagan Similkameen Division of Family Practice. In addition, the centre will provide ongoing care for unattached patients while they work on connecting patients to other local practices for their long-term care.

Of the close to 48,000 residents in the area of Penticton and Summerland, around 7,200 or 15 per cent do not have a family doctor.

The Penticton UPCC is a collaboration between Interior Health, the Ministry of Health, the South Okanagan Similkameen Division of Family Practice, the Martin Street Outreach Centre Association, OneSky Community Resources and local Aboriginal partners, including the Penticton Indian Band and Ooknakane Friendship Centre

“The Penticton Indian Band welcomes and supports the enhancement of primary care services into our region and territory. With this new facility, we will see more easier and enhanced access to health-care services for those in need. It is our wish for the realization of a holistic approach to the health and well-being of our Syilx people,” said Chief Greg Gabriel of the Penticton Indian Band.

The Martin Street Urgent and Primary Care Centre is part of the South Okanagan Similkameen Primary Care Network, which also includes the Ponderosa Primary Care Clinic in Penticton.

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