Urgent and primary care centre coming soon to Cowichan

Press Release

July 2, 2024

DUNCAN – People living in Duncan and the surrounding area will soon benefit from having better access to team-based longitudinal and urgent primary care through a new urgent and primary care centre (UPCC).

“It’s important that everyone can access primary care, even outside of regular hours, as not everyone can easily step away from work, school or other priorities during the day,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “Cowichan’s new UPCC will mark a significant step forward in addressing this challenge and makes it easier for people to access health care. This centre will be vital for rural communities, ensuring no one is left without essential care when they need it most, including youth and those in vulnerable situations.”

The Cowichan UPCC is scheduled to open in 2025 at 940 Government St. in downtown Duncan. It will provide urgent and episodic primary care with extended hours, as well as longitudinal primary care services for patients attached to the UPCC through the provincial attachment system that includes the Health Connect Registry.

“We are pleased that construction on Cowichan’s new urgent and primary care centre is now underway,” said Leah Hollins, board chair, Island Health. “This UPCC will provide residents with timely access to integrated, comprehensive, culturally safe and trauma-informed primary care.”

The UPCC will provide same-day care for people who need support for their health concerns within 12 to 24 hours, but do not require an emergency department visit. Conditions such as sprains, cuts, high fevers and minor infections are appropriate for treatment at the UPCC. The UPCC will be available to people who do not have a primary care provider, as well as people with an urgent need who are not able to access their provider within 12 to 24 hours.

“Accessible and adaptable services are crucial in communities experiencing growth, particularly in health care,” said Doug Routley, MLA for Nanaimo-North Cowichan. “This new UPCC will provide patient-centred, team-based care seven days a week, offering more accessibility to health-care options for individuals and families.”

The centre will be approximately 930 square metres (10,000 square feet), including a patient waiting room, reception, medication, point-of-care testing area, staff work and meeting rooms. Once fully staffed, the UPCC will have approximately 30 full-time employees (FTEs), including family physicians, nurse practitioners, registered nurses, social workers, mental-health clinicians and clinical support staff.

Operated by Island Health, the Cowichan UPCC is a collaboration between Island Health, the Ministry of Health, Cowichan Primary Care Network, Indigenous communities/organizations and the Cowichan Division of Family Practice.

“We’d like to thank our members who tirelessly work to provide quality patient care across Cowichan communities. It is a testament to the strength of relationships across all our partners that we collectively decided to implement a UPCC here in Cowichan,” said Dr. Carole Williams, co-chair, Cowichan Division of Family Practice. “This is a facility designed to align with existing services and help to meet the growing need for primary care. Collaboration will continue to be critical as we move forward.”

There are currently seven UPCCs operating in the Island Health region: Westshore, Nanaimo, North Quadra (Victoria), James Bay (Victoria), Downtown Victoria, Esquimalt and Gorge Road (Victoria). The total capital cost for the UPCC is estimated to be approximately $7 million, which includes providing for medical equipment, clinic furnishings and technology.

The centre is part of the government’s ongoing work to enhance access to health-care services within communities. It supports B.C.’s Health Human Resources Strategy, announced on Sept. 29, 2022, which identifies 70 actions to recruit, train and retain health-care workers, while redesigning the health-care system to foster workplace satisfaction and innovation.

Learn More:

For more information about the Health Connect Registry, visit: https://www.healthlinkbc.ca/health-connect-registry

To learn about the Province’s Health Human Resources Strategy, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2022HLTH0059-001464

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

Contact:

Ministry of Health
Communications
250 952-1887 (media line)

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