Premier John Horgan (Photo: Black Press Files).

Horgan announces first ‘urgent primary care centre’ in Surrey

BC Nurses’ Union ‘encouraged’ to hear 10 ‘long overdue’ team-based facilities to open in next 12 months

Surrey will be home to one of the first urgent primary-care centres being set up in B.C., Premier John Horgan announced in the city on Thursday (June 7).

The centres were an NDP election promise and aim to take pressure off of hospital emergency rooms, help people who don’t have a family doctor, as well as operate on weekend and hours outside of clinics.

In all, ten are planned across the province.

The government says the North Surrey centre, and the primary-care network it will be a part of, will “work to connect people to consistent health-care providers in the community who are accepting new patients” and “make it easier for people to receive follow-up care.”

According to the provincial government, nearly 78,000 people in Surrey alone do not have a family doctor. Province-wide, it’s estimated one in six people don’t have a doctor.

“We are making innovative changes to public health care so that it works for British Columbians, providing them with timely, effective care in their communities,” said Premier Horgan in a statement. “By opening urgent primary-care centres in all of the health regions, we are delivering on our promise to improve quality of care, and provide more care to more people.”

See more: B.C. launches plan to tackle doctor shortage, emergency room congestion

Expected to open this October, the Surrey Urgent Primary Care Centre will be open daily from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m at the City Centre 2 building (9639 137A St.), near specialists’ offices, other health-care services as well as Surrey Memorial Hospital.

“The proximity to the hospital will make it easy for hospital staff to refer patients to the centre for follow-up care, when appropriate,” a government release notes.

Surrey’s centre will be able to see up to 1,300 patients per week when fully up and running, according to a release, and will be able to “attach up to 5,000 patients over time.”

The government says Surrey’s centre will have a seven-day-a-week team of four doctors, seven registered nurses, two nurse practitioners, two pharmacists, four social workers, seven medical office assistants and two mental health clinicians serving a variety of patients, including “vulnerable residents who have complex care needs, including the frail and elderly, people needing specialized mental health and substance use services, and the North Surrey/Whalley community.”

The centre will also do outreach by connecting nurses to community locations such as shelters.

See also: ‘Concept planning’ for a new Surrey hospital is underway

See also: Cloverdale is the best location for a new Surrey hospital, says mayor

Residents will be able to visit the facility to be assessed by a nurse, and a variety of appointment options will be offered, including one-on-one visits, appointments with multiple providers, “telehealth” visits, home visits and group appointments to support people with similar conditions.

The centre will also provide diagnosis and care for “non-emergency conditions” requiring medical attention within 12 to 24 hours, including lacerations, ear aches, back pain and sore throats.

Minister of Health Adrian Dix said the team-based care “is the future of health care” and “will be the standard for primary care throughout B.C.”

“Urgent primary-care centres are part of an overhaul of the way British Columbians access day-to-day health care,” Dix added. “Over half of the people living in B.C. have been unable to get same-day or next-day appointments with their primary-care providers. It’s time for families to have easier and improved access to health care.”

See also: Improving access to MRIs is ‘an important step,’ says Hospital Employees’ Union

See also: B.C. announces $175 million to cut hip, knee surgery wait times

The provincial government says all 10 urgent primary-care centres will open over the next 12 months, as part of its health care strategy.

In all, the strategy will see government fund and recruit 200 family doctors and 200 nurse practitioners, and hire 50 clinical pharmacists.

The BC Nurses’ Union said in a statement it is “encouraged” that the “long overdue” centres will open in the next year.

BCNU’s president Christine Sorensen said it has voiced strong support for team-based care.

“Once operational the centres will be fully staffed with nurses as well as other health care professionals and be of particular benefit to rural regions of the province,” said Sorensen in a release.

Sorensen noted some registered nurses can prescribe medication, order routine lab tests and direct patient care and should be utilized in RN First Assist and RN First Call which are advanced primary care practices.

“The literature is quite clear that having more, not fewer, professional nurses is strongly associated with greater patient safety and better health outcomes,” she added.

Sorensen said maintaining status quo and not hiring enough nurses is “risky, noting retiring family doctors are not always being replaced, as more doctors choose to be specialized.

“Transforming primary care, with an expanded role for nurses-across the continuum of care-is part of a solution to increase capacity within primary care services,” she stated.

Sorensen said recruitment and retention of nurses in B.C. “woefully inadequate,” noting nurse overtime cost Canada more than $785 million in 2016.

“Let’s make sure more nurses in B.C. will have the opportunity to practice to their full scope of practice in additional primary care centres and elsewhere, in order to keep the nurses we have, hire the nurses we need and ensure our future care in B.C. is the best it can be,” concluded Sorensen.

Meantime, Horgan said work on a concept plan for a new Surrey hospital continues.

The government announced its intention to create a new hospital in the city last December.

While information on a budget or location were not part of that announcement, Dix said at the time that the government is entering the concept planning stage, which could take up to a year to complete.

“It’s a significant review process,” said Dix in December, estimating the planning and review process would cost $3 million. “Once the concept plan is approved, we start with the business plan and then we go ahead with building the hospital.”

-With files from Black Press

Just Posted

Former Cloverdale youth pastor guilty of one count of sexual assault

Judge cites reasonable doubt in finding Samuel Emerson not guilty of majority of charges

Athletes to mentor Surrey students with $720K boost for ‘Classroom Champions’

Program will involve close to 6,000 students and 150 teachers over the next three years

Transgender inmate loses court case against Surrey Pretrial

Petitioner argued denial of transfer to women’s prison was unreasonable and unfair

Whalley-area developer named Surrey’s Business Person of the Year

Charan Sethi among winners at 2019 Surrey Business Excellence Awards gala

Surrey agency receives $250K to open ‘no cost’ legal clinic

Law Foundation of B.C. provided the grant to Sources Community Resources Society

VIDEO: Canadian allergists’ group wants Benadryl behind the counter due to side effects

Some doctors say the medication is over-used because of its easy availability

Yelling at your dog might hurt its long-term mental health: study

Researchers find dogs trained using negative reinforcement are more ‘pessimistic’

Vancouver Island soap company releases Lucky Lager beer soap

Beer-infused olive oil soap comes out just in time for holiday shopping

Jagmeet Singh says he’ll vote against throne speech if NDP requests not met

Singh is to meet with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Thursday

Community uses loophole to paint 16 rainbow crosswalks after B.C. council says no

So far 11 rainbows are painted and five planned, all since council denied the first proposal in September

Workers’ camp at LNG facility in Kitimat takes shape

Extensive worker camp now being assembled

238 and counting: Vancouver gelato shop sets Guinness World record for most flavours

Vince Misceo has come up with 588 different flavours over the decades

Killer who fled to Taiwan day after shooting B.C. man over $80 sentenced 13 years later

The sentence comes 13 years after Shaoxin Zhang, 19, was killed in a Burnaby parking lot

Most Read