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Vancouver Island’s first nurse practitioner primary care clinic opens

People and families in Nanaimo now have access to more primary health-care services with the opening of the first primary care clinic led by nurse practitioners on Vancouver Island.

The Province is launching Nexus Primary Care Clinic, in collaboration with the Nurses and Nurse Practitioners of BC and Island Health, to provide team-based primary care services to residents. Nurse practitioner-led primary care clinics are part of B.C.’s primary care strategy and are developed by nurse practitioners.

Nurse practitioners are health practitioners who can work on their own, or with physicians and other health professionals, to provide care across a person’s life span. This includes diagnosing and treating illnesses, ordering and interpreting tests, prescribing medications and performing medical procedures.

“Our priority is to find new, innovative ways of working, co-ordinating services and delivering care so that British Columbians don’t have to wait so long, travel so far and search so hard for the care they need,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “Nurse practitioners are a viable, patient-centred solution to improving access, but we know that compared to other jurisdictions, B.C. has not made the best use of nurse practitioners. This is the first nurse practitioner primary care clinic that we have established under the Province’s Primary Care Strategy, and there is more to come. These clinics will connect more people with the care they need, when they need it most.”

Located at #3-1273 Island Hwy., Nexus Primary Care Clinic offers team-based primary care to residents. This includes attaching approximately 6,800 people to a primary care provider in the next three years.

The clinic will open gradually starting on Tuesday, June 30, 2020, with two full-time nurse practitioners. By Sept. 15, the clinic will have four more nurse practitioners, two registered nurses, a social worker and mental-health clinicians to provide team-based care to people in the greater Nanaimo area.

Current hours of operation at the clinic are Monday, Tuesday and Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Wednesday and Thursday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Once fully staffed on Sept. 15, the clinic hours will expand to include evenings and Saturdays.

“We know that thousands of people in Nanaimo do not have a consistent primary care provider. The Nexus Primary Care Clinic is another valuable resource for people to get attached to a nurse practitioner and to receive primary health care,” Dix said. “Island Health and Nurses and Nurse Practitioners of BC are to be thanked for their continued support in helping residents live their healthiest lives.”

The B.C. government is providing an approximately $2-million operating budget, as well as approximately $495,000 as a one-time cost.

The establishment of nurse practitioner-led primary and community care clinics coincides with the Ministry of Health’s 2018 announcement to create 200 nurse practitioner positions in primary care settings throughout B.C. This is to fully leverage and integrate these clinics into the province’s primary care system to improve access to primary health care for British Columbians.

Learn More:

To learn more about the Province’s primary health-care strategy, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2018PREM0034-001010

To learn more about the Province’s strategy to increase the number of nurse practitioners, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2018HLTH0034-000995

To learn more about the Province’s strategy to recruit and retain more family medicine graduates, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2018HLTH0052-001043

Two backgrounders follow.

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