West Kelowna will have to wait longer if they want a new urgent care centre.
While B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix announced the creation of a new urgent care centre planned for the Capri Centre on Harvey Avenue in Kelowna Thursday, he confirmed no similar building would be built in the near future in West Kelowna.
Dix said the B.C. government will look at other options to help improve health care services for residents living on the west side of Okanagan Lake.
“You’re going to see investments in primary care networks in West Kelowna. (The area) has a lot of the things we’d look for in terms of demographic and population” said Dix.
A primary care network was initiated by the B.C. Ministry of Health last spring in the South Okanagan and aims to connect health professionals with patients more efficiently in smaller urban centres.
In total, five new nurses, six new general practitioners and 11 other health care professionals are expected to be recruited into the network over the next three years in West Kelowna and other interior communities.
Dix said the goal of the network is to make existing health care services more available for patients requiring care in certain geographic areas like West Kelowna.
“What it is, is connecting existing primary care providers, and adding resources to them. You don’t want to be competing with existing doctors. That’s why you want to connect people with existing services,” said the health minister.
Dix emphasized that West Kelowna residents will also benefit greatly from the new urgent care centre planned for Kelowna, which is expected to see 63,000 visits per year once it is up and running.
The centre, to be located in the former BMO Bank of Montreal building in the Capri Centre, is expected to be ready for patients by late December.