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People in Rutland will have increased health-care access

November 21, 2023 at 11:41 am  BC, News, Politics, Provincial

People in Rutland will see increased access to team-based health care with a new urgent and primary care centre (UPCC) and a community health centre (CHC).

“People living in Rutland and surrounding communities will directly benefit from increased access to health-care services delivered through a new urgent and primary care centre and a new community health centre,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “Integrating physicians, nurses and allied health professionals means patients can receive timely and comprehensive team-based care. These two centres are examples of our continued work to increase access to primary care services.”

The UPCC provides care for people with non-life-threatening conditions who need to see a health-care provider within 12 to 24 hours but do not require an emergency department, such as people with minor cuts or burns, headaches and minor infections. Additionally, the clinic will help attach more patients to ongoing team-based primary care services, including mental-health support.

The UPCC will open in a phased approach. Until Nov. 29, operating hours will be 11 a.m. until 6 p.m. From Nov. 30 until Dec. 7, operating hours will expand until 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. From Dec. 8, the UPCC will be at full operating hours and open daily from 9:30 a.m. until 8:30 p.m. for urgent care needs, and Monday to Friday 9:30 a.m. until 6 p.m. for longitudinal care needs.

“With the opening of Interior Health’s ninth urgent and primary care centre, we are demonstrating our commitment to connecting more patients with timely and comprehensive care,” said Susan Brown, president and CEO of Interior Health. “Residents of Rutland will have additional access to a team of expert health-care professionals who can address immediate health concerns and offer support for long-term health-care needs.”

Once fully hired, a team of more than 33 full-time health-care staff will support Rutland UPCC, consisting of family physicians, nurse practitioners, registered nurses, social workers, physiotherapists and a community health worker. Patients can see a diverse team of health-care providers similar to other UPCCs.

Interior Health will operate the UPCC and collaborate with Central Okanagan Division of Family Practice to integrate the UPCC into Rutland and Lake Country Primary Care Network as part of the larger Central Okanagan Primary Care Network. Rutland UPCC is a collaboration between Interior Health, Ministry of Health, Central Okanagan Regional Hospital District, Central Okanagan Division of Family Practice and local Indigenous partners, including the Okanagan Nation Alliance.

To support residents in Rutland and the surrounding communities, the Province provided the Okanagan Family Medicine and Community Health Centre Society $5.5 million in one-time and operational funding for the creation of a new CHC, which opened on Nov. 20, 2023. It will begin by focusing on providing women’s health and other underserved populations in Rutland. Once fully operational, the CHC will be open Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. and offer extended hours during evenings, weekends and holidays. 

“The opening of Rutland CHC stands as a statement of support for marginalized communities in the Rutland area,” said Milt Stevenson, co-developer, Okanagan Community Health Society. “We look forward to providing a dedicated space which will ensure accessible care and inclusivity for underserved populations.”

Community health centres are community-governed, not-for-profit organizations with services tailored to meet the health needs of the community they serve. The CHC would be governed and operated by Okanagan Family Medicine and Community Health Centre Society with support from Interior Health and Ministry of Health.

Rutland is the 31st UPCC to be announced and opened under the government’s primary-care strategy. Of those, nine are in the Interior Health region. This includes Ashcroft, Castlegar, Cranbrook, Kamloops, Kelowna, Penticton, Rutland, Vernon and West Kelowna. As part of the Primary Care Strategy initiatives, Rutland CHC is the seventh to receive ongoing operational funding from the Province.

These centres are part of the government’s ongoing work to enhance access to health-care services within local communities. It supports B.C.’s Health Human Resources Strategy announced on Sept. 29, 2022, which identifies 70 key actions to recruit, train and retain health-care workers.

Quotes:

Dr. Christine Hoppe, physician lead, Central Okanagan Division of Family Practice

“We look forward to working with Rutland UPCC through the Rutland and Lake Country Primary Care Network to improve patients’ access to primary care and minimizing barriers to care. Primary Care Networks in our region are a joint initiative between local Indigenous partners, Interior Health and Central Okanagan Division of Family Practice.”

Loyal Wooldridge, chair of the Central Okanagan Regional Hospital District

“Rutland is one of the fastest-growing urban centres in Kelowna and the new UPCC is an important investment to meet the growing needs of the community. The regional hospital district is proud to be a funder and supporter of primary care in the region. While there is still much work to be done, this is a step in the right direction to improve access to vital health-care services for families, seniors and those without direct access to doctors.”

Sherri Kensall, board chair, Nurses and Nurse Practitioners of B.C.

“Nurses and Nurse Practitioners of B.C. are pleased to see that the knowledge, skills and expertise of the health-care team will be utilized to improve access to health care for people in B.C. 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 B.C.”

Learn More:

To learn about urgent- and primary-care centres, visit: https://www.healthlinkbc.ca/health-services/urgent-and-primary-care-centres

To learn about B.C.’s Health Human Resources Strategy, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/BCHealthHumanResourcesStrategy-Sept2022.pdf

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

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