WEST KELOWNA – More people in West Kelowna and surrounding communities will have increased access to better, improved health care, with a new urgent and primary care centre (UPCC) opening in November 2020 at 2484 Main St.

“The new urgent and primary care centre will have a significant impact for patients and families by increasing access to local health services for area residents. The team-based approach to care means people living in West Kelowna and on Westbank First Nation land will have added support for their immediate and long-term health needs. This centre will also work with vulnerable populations, providing primary care services to people where they live,” said Dr. Doug Cochrane, board chair, Interior Health.

The West Kelowna UPCC is a collaboration led by Interior Health and includes the Westbank First Nation, the City of West Kelowna and the District of Peachland.

It is anticipated that the health-care team will include general practitioners, nurse practitioners, registered nurses, social workers, physiotherapists and medical office assistants. Once fully staffed, the centre will provide care for more than 27,000 patient visits annually. Patients will be seen by the team of health-care providers and will be able to self-refer to the UPCC for care.

“Nurses and Nurse Practitioners of BC are pleased to see that the knowledge, skills and expertise of the entire health-care team will be utilized to improve access to health care for all British Columbians through urgent and primary care clinics. We believe that this approach will be pivotal in ensuring B.C. families can access health-care services, and we are excited to see the opening of another urgent and primary care clinic in BC,” said Michael Sandler, executive director, Nurses and Nurse Practitioners of BC.

The West Kelowna UPCC will deliver urgent and primary care services to people who need to see a health-care provider, but do not require a trip to the emergency department. Basic laboratory tests will also be available.

Importantly, the centre will also work to connect patients without a family doctor to a physician or nurse practitioner for ongoing primary care – either at the centre or in the community. Attachment will be provided by collaboration with the Central Okanagan Division of Family Practice.

The centre will also support attachment for patients over the next few years to a regular primary care provider, either at the centre or in the community.

When the centre begins seeing patients this fall, its hours of operation will be from 11:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.

This is the 19th UPCC that has been announced under the government’s primary care strategy, 17 of which are open. Of those, five centres are in the Interior Health region, including in Vernon, Kamloops, Kelowna, Castlegar and West Kelowna.