Health Minister Adrian Dix looks during a press conference in the rotunda at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Wednesday May 6, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

Health Minister Adrian Dix looks during a press conference in the rotunda at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Wednesday May 6, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

Urgent and Primary Care Centre to increase access to health care in Cranbrook

Cranbrook and area residents will soon have increased access to health care services with a new Urgent and Primary Care Centre set to open at the Baker St. mall in the coming months.

The UPCC, expected to be operational by November, will have a team of health care professionals including doctors, nurse practitioners, registered nurses, mental wellness clinicians, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, social workers, Aboriginal health coordinators and a clinical pharmacist.

“The new UPCC in Cranbrook will offer people better access to comprehensive, team-based health care, closer to home,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “With the support of local health-care teams, our primary care strategy is leveraging community collaboration to strengthen primary care services throughout the province. In Cranbrook, it means regular, ongoing access to primary care providers for people in the region.”

The UPCC is a collaboration between Interior Health, the Ministry of Health, the East Kootenay Division of Family Practice and the Ktunaxa Nation.

The UPCC will serve two purposes, according to the provincial government.

Firstly, it will provide care for people experiencing non-life-threatening conditions, such as an ankle sprain or a sore throat, who need to see a health-care provider within 12 to 24 hours, but do not require an emergency department. Secondly, it will attach patients to a regular primary care provider.

“We welcome the Cranbrook UPCC as part of our primary care network,” said Dr. Shaun Van Zyl, board chair, East Kootenay Division of Family Practice. “We are looking forward to patients having increased access to urgent care, especially for those patients waiting for attachment to a family doctor or nurse practitioner.”

The UPCC will integrate with other local team-based supports throughout the community to enhance primary care service.

“By incorporating culturally relevant care, including trauma-informed primary care services, the Cranbrook UPCC will strengthen the relationship and trust between Indigenous people and health-care providers, in addition to improving health outcomes for all people in the region,” said Kathryn Teneese, chair, Ktunaxa Nation Council.

When it opens, the UPCC will be open seven days a week, 365 days a year, and through extended hours on evenings and weekends.

The Cranbrook location will be a part of the East Kootenay Primary Care Network.

There are 26 UPCCs that have been announced across the province, including seven in the Interior Health region in communities such as Kelowna, Vernon, Kamloops and Castlegar.