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Posted: August 4, 2021

Cranbrook urgent and primary care centre coming

People in Cranbrook and neighbouring communities will have increased access to health care with a new urgent and primary care centre (UPCC) opening in November at 1311-2nd Street.

The Cranbrook UPCC is a collaboration between Interior Health, the Ministry of Health, the East Kootenay Division of Family Practice and the Ktunaxa Nation. This UPCC is part of the East Kootenay Primary Care Network (PCN).

When fully operational, it is anticipated that the centre’s team of clinical health-care professionals will include doctors, nurse practitioners, registered nurses, mental wellness clinicians, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, social workers, Aboriginal health co-ordinators 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 centre will serve two purposes. The first will be providing 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. The second purpose will be attaching patients to a regular primary care provider.

Other team-based care supports throughout the community will be integrated with the centre through the team-based care hub, enhancing primary care service to people in the region.

When the centre opens, care will be available seven days a week, 365 days a year, and through extended hours on evenings and weekends.

“We welcome the Cranbrook UPCC as part of our primary care network. 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,” said Dr. Shaun Van Zyl, board chair of East Kootenay Division of Family Practice.

This is the 26th UPCC that has been announced under the government’s primary care strategy. Of those, seven are in the Interior Health region, including in Kelowna, West Kelowna, Vernon, Kamloops, Castlegar, Penticton and Cranbrook.

“The new urgent and primary care centre planned for Cranbrook will have a significant impact for patients and families living in the community and surrounding area, increasing access to local health services. The team-based approach to care by family physicians, nurse practitioners, nurses and allied health professionals means people living in the area will have added support for their immediate and long-term health needs. Working together with Aboriginal partners and local organizations, the UPCC will provide support to vulnerable populations, connecting people to ongoing primary care services close to home,” stated Dr. Doug Cochrane, board chair of Interior Health.

Kathryn Teneese

“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, Ktunaxa Nation Council Chair.

Dr. Matthew Chow, president, Doctors of BC added: “We look forward to the integration of the Cranbrook UPCC in hopes it will strengthen primary care in the community. Doctors of BC has a strong interest in ensuring people have access to the health-care services they need. We also emphasize the importance of measures that strengthen the long-term relationships between patients and their family doctor. These relationships have been shown to improve health outcomes, help avoid preventable illness and reduce the cost of health care.”

Michael Sandler, executive director, Nurses and Nurse Practitioners of BC said, “Nurses and nurse practitioners of B.C. are pleased to see that the knowledge, skills and expertise of the entire health-care team will be utilized to improve access to health care for all British Columbians through urgent and primary care clinics. We believe that this approach will be pivotal in ensuring B.C. families can access health-care services, and we are excited to see the opening of another urgent and primary care clinic in B.C.”

Cranbrook Urgent and Primary Care Centre facts

* The centre will feature improved access to care through extended weekend and evening hours.

* Longitudinal primary care services and urgent and episodic primary care services will be offered at the centre.

* People can self-refer for their urgent care needs. Patients can also be referred by community service providers, other health-care professionals and agencies. People are encouraged to visit their own family physician or nurse practitioner where possible.

* People can also schedule appointments. During busy periods, appointments will be prioritized based on urgency.

* Patients requiring laboratory testing beyond the simple specimen collection will be provided with requisitions for lab tests to be completed at nearby laboratories.

* Of nearly 27,982 people in the Cranbrook region, approximately 4,809, or roughly 17%, of patients are considered unattached.

* The five top identified conditions in the Cranbrook local health area (LHA) are mood and anxiety disorders, depression, hypertension, asthma and osteoarthritis.

* Approximately 35% of visits to East Kootenay Regional Hospital emergency department in 2020-21 were triaged as relatively low acuity. Many of these visits could be dealt with in alternative settings, such as an urgent and primary care centre.

* UPCCs are part of a comprehensive provincial strategy to transform B.C.’s health system by bringing together and co-ordinating with health-care providers, services and programs to make it easier for people to access care, receive follow-up care and connect to other services they may need.

* The Cranbrook UPCC joins other local primary care clinics, which provide primary care services to the immediate vicinity and form the East Kootenay Primary Care Network.

The East Kootenay Primary Care Network is working to attach 18,317 patients by 2022-23. The network is adding capacity to the 33 physicians in the Cranbrook area that provide team-based care through an interdisciplinary team of allied health professionals and increase access for people.

Lead image: Health Minister Adrian Dix. BC Government file photo

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