'Enhancing access;' Ashcroft Hospital is now an urgent primary care centre

Facility replaces hospital

A new urgent and primary care centre has opened in Ashcroft, inside the building formerly known as the Ashcroft Hospital and Community Healthcare Centre.

The facility’s aim is to provide care for people with non-life-threatening conditions like sprains, cuts, fevers and infections — ailments that require urgent care but are relatively minor.

Primary care services available include diagnosis and treatment for minor illnesses, as well as harm reduction, reproductive care, vaccinations and injections, early detection, chronic disease management, referrals and post-surgical care.

The urgent and primary care centre (UPCC) opened on Tuesday. It is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week.

“A new UPCC in Ashcroft will offer people increased access to the healthcare they need, when they need it,” Health Minister Adrian Dix said in a news release.

“With the support of local healthcare teams and through community collaboration, we’re strengthening primary care services throughout the province. In Ashcroft, this means that more people can access same-day, everyday healthcare.”

Ashcroft Hospital had been functioning in recent months as a part-time emergency department open only on weekends. Even then, it was often closed due to limited staff availability.

Diane Shendruk, Vice President of clinical operations for IH North, said Ashcroft Hospital no longer exists.

“That’s correct — it’s an urgent primary care centre,” she told Castanet Kamloops.

“It had very limited services previously.”

Shendruk said the Ashcroft-Cache Creek community will be much better served by the UPCC.

“It’s really enhancing access to healthcare for the community,” she said.

“And they’ll be able to diagnose and treat minor illnesses, harm reduction, vaccination, help support chronic disease and provide long-term care, as well as urgent care.”

The Ashcroft UPCC is part of the Interior Rural Primary Care Network and will be owned and operated by Interior Health.

“Opening this UPCC in Ashcroft is the first of its kind in Interior Health to stabilize rural healthcare in a model that provides urgent primary care 12 hours per day close to home, while ensuring the network connection to Royal Inland Hospital when a higher level of care is required,” IH CEO Susan Brown said.

“I am also impressed with the recruitment of staff to support rural care. It indicates to me the passion healthcare staff have for team-based rural medicine.”

While on the campaign trail in the lead up to the 2020 provincial election, Premier John Horgan promised the Ashcroft Hospital would be staffed 24/7 if the NDP were to form government.

Shendruk said recruitment efforts are underway for the Ashcroft facility.

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