Kelowna gets urgent care

UPDATE: 1:55 p.m.

West Kelowna's loss is Kelowna's gain.

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix was in Kelowna Thursday to announce the opening of an urgent and primary care centre in the former Bank of Montreal building at the Capri Centre Mall.

West Kelowna has been lobbying the province for more than a decade to get a facility such as this in their city.

The centre, which is expected to begin seeing patients in December, will operate with the full-time equivalent of five general practitioner and two nurse practitioner positions.

The facility will also hire registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, social workers, respiratory therapists and physiotherapists.

The equivalent of 22 full-time employees will be hired according to Dix.

"The new urgent and primary care centre will help connect more people in Kelowna and the surrounding communities with the health care they need, when they need it," said Dix.

"By increasing the number of publicly funded health-care professionals in the community, thousands of area residents who currently lack a primary care provider will benefit from increased access to same day appointments for urgent needs, ongoing primary care and better longitudinal care into the future."

It will cost the province about $4.2 million annually to operate the facility.

This will be the 11th such facility opened in the province by the NDP government, and the second in the Interior Health region.

The first, which opened in Kamloops in June of last year, has served about 9,300 patient visits in 15 months.

ORIGINAL: 12:35 p.m.

Health Minister Adrian Dix is in Kelowna making an announcement about improving primary care in Kelowna and the surrounding region.

Dix, will be joined by representatives from Interior Health, doctors, nurse practitioners, other health-care professionals.

The press conference is expected to begin at 1 p.m.

More Kelowna News