B.C. NDP candidate Sheila Malcolmson speaks to B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix at her campaign office on Wednesday. The minister revealed Nanaimo will be the next B.C. city to receive an urgent primary care centre. GREG SAKAKI/The News Bulletin

B.C. NDP candidate Sheila Malcolmson speaks to B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix at her campaign office on Wednesday. The minister revealed Nanaimo will be the next B.C. city to receive an urgent primary care centre. GREG SAKAKI/The News Bulletin

‘Nanaimo is next’ for urgent primary care centre

B.C. Health Minister says new centre coming in next few months

A new urgent primary care centre is coming to Nanaimo to take the pressure off the emergency room and connect patients with doctors.

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix told reporters today that “Nanaimo is next” for urgent primary care. The centres have been rolled out in each of British Columbia’s health authorities, and will continue to be established every six months.

“Nanaimo’s next and not because of any other reason than there’s a significant need here and a large number of people unattached to a family doctor,” Dix said.

He said a formal announcement will be made at a later date, but said work has been going on for “the last number of months” and said an urgent primary care centre will be “up and running at or around the end of this fiscal year … March 31.”

He said the provincial government has gotten good response in the hiring process and he believes the new care won’t detract from existing health services in the area.

“It’s one thing for ministers to make announcements, it’s another thing to have the doctors and others available to provide services,” Dix said.

He said urgent primary care delivery will come from a team of doctors, nurse practitioners, nurses, other health professionals and others, and will help link patients with diagnostic services and support attachment to family doctors.

“It adds a very significant team-based, publicly supported initiative that adds to what we’re doing now,” Dix said.

The minister was asked if the centre would be set up in the north end, but did not reveal a location. He said the centres are set up a little bit differently in each community.

“I think here in Nanaimo … we may be a little further away from the hospital and that makes a lot of sense,” the minister said.

According to government news releases, an urgent primary care centre that opened in Victoria’s West Shore this fall had capital costs of $3.4 million and annual operating costs of $4.5 million. A Surrey centre had $3.1 million capital costs and $3.8 annual operating costs, and one in Vancouver was $1.9 million to start up and $3.7 million to operate annually.

Dix was speaking to reporters today at B.C. NDP candidate Sheila Malcolmson’s campaign office. Malcolmson said the news shows that the government is “carrying on a string of acting on the problems that we inherited from the B.C. Liberals” and said urgent primary care complements some of the other health care investments that are happening.

“That feels like the next step to make up for the fact that people are still continuing to have difficulty accessing the front-line family doctor and being able to take a bit of pressure off the emergency room when people need help,” she said.

One of the intentions of urgent primary care is to ease pressure after hours and on weekends, Dix suggested.

“Often in our health-care system, the reason people end up in our emergency room is there’s no other door open and this opens other doors,” he said.



editor@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

FOI records provided to the News Bulletin from the City of Nanaimo in 2018. (News Bulletin file photo)
Samra’s numerous FOI requests to City of Nanaimo aren’t ‘vexatious,’ privacy commissioner decides

Former CAO says records will assist her in a future B.C. Human Rights Tribunal hearing

Chartwell Malaspina Care Residence in Nanaimo. (News Bulletin file photo)
Two Nanaimo care-home residents have died during COVID-19 outbreak

Death reported Monday was the second related to Chartwell Malaspina outbreak, says Island Health

Eighteen-year-old Aidan Webber died in a marine accident in 2019. He was a Canadian Junior BMX champion from Nanaimo. (Submitted)
Inadequate safety training a factor in teen BMX star’s workplace death in 2019

Aidan Webber was crushed by a barge at a fish farm near Port Hardy

Nanaimo RCMP are seeking the public’s help after a man allegedly assaulted a clerk at James General Store on Victoria Road on Jan. 18. (Submitted photo)
Suspect screams at customer then assaults store clerk on Nanaimo’s Victoria Road

RCMP asking for information about Jan. 18 incident at James General Store

(Black Press Media files)
Transport Canada not budging on enclosed deck rules, despite calls from BC Ferries union

There have been at least 23 cases of the U.K. variant detected in Canada, four of which are in B.C.

Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, vice-president of logistics and operations at the Public Health Agency of Canada, speaks at a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa, on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
B.C. records 500 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, 14 deaths

Outbreak at Surrey Pretrial jail, two more in health care

A woman writes a message on a memorial mural wall by street artist James “Smokey Devil” Hardy during a memorial to remember victims of illicit drug overdose deaths on International Overdose Awareness Day, in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, on Monday, August 31, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. paramedics respond to record-breaking number of overdose calls in 2020

On the front lines, COVID-19 has not only led to more calls, but increased the complexity

Rod Bitten of Union Bay won $500,000 in the Lotto Max draw on Jan. 15. Photo supplied
Vancouver Island electrician gets shocking surprise with $500K Extra win

Rod Bitten has been hard at work with home renovations, which is… Continue reading

Rendering of two residential buildings proposed for the corner of Haliburton and Milton streets. (Matthew T. Hansen Architect image)
Two five-storey residential buildings approved for Haliburton Street

City council issues development permit for 79-unit complex at Haliburton and Milton

A suspect has been arrested in connection with fires at Drinkwater Elementary (pictured) and École Mount Prevost. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Arson suspect arrested after fires at Cowichan Valley schools

Drinkwater Elementary and Mount Prevost schools hit within a week

Oyster River Fire Rescue members were called out to a suspicious fire in Black Creek. Two vehicles parked at a private residence were destroyed by fire. Photo courtesy Oyster River Fire Rescue
Suspicious fire destroys two vehicles at Vancouver Island residence

Oyster River Fire Rescue personnel were dispatched to a fire at a… Continue reading

Members of the BC RCMP Explosive Disposal Unit (EDU) is on route to Drummond Park opposite of Fulford Habour on Saltspring Island after the discovery of a suspicious cylindrical-shaped device. (Google/Screencap)
Bomb disposal unit en route to Salt Spring Island after suspicious device found in park

Police say a resident discovered the device Wednesday morning in Drummond Park opposite BC Ferries terminal

Seven streets in downtown Duncan, including Station Street, will soon have new native names added to their signage. (Submitted graphic)
New Duncan street signs will be in English and Hul’q’umi’num

Seven streets to get additional names in First Nations language

Southern resident killer whales in B.C. waters. Research shows the population’s females are more negatively influenced by vessel traffic than males. (Photo supplied by Ocean Wise Conservation Association)
Female orcas less likely to feed in presence of vessel traffic: study

Research the southern resident population raises concerns over reproduction capacity

Most Read