Healthcare just got more accessible for Kelowna residents.
B.C. minister of health Adrian Dix and others officially opened a new Kelowna Urgent and Primary Care Centre (UPCC) on Jan. 9 at 1141 Harvey Ave, where a Bank of Montreal branch used to be located.
“The Kelowna UPCC will help connect more people in Central Okanagan communities with the health care they need,” said Dix.
“Thousands of area residents who currently lack a primary-care provider will benefit from increased access to same-day appointments for urgent needs.”
With the new building, 22 full-time nurses, social workers, respiratory therapists, physiotherapists and other health-care providers will be working in the new space.
Interior Health’s Board of Directors chair Dr. Doug Cochrane said the UPCC is part of the transformation of healthcare delivery in the province.
“It’s something that I think communities have been waiting for for a long time,” Cochrane said. He added the centre has seen 130 patients since it opened on Dec. 30, despite no official announcement that it was open, pointing to the need in the community.
“The residents of the Central Valley will enjoy better support for their immediate and long-term healthcare needs.”
Westbank First Nation’s Chief Christopher Derickson said the UPCC is an important piece when it comes to reconciliation in the region.
“Yes, the care provided from here will service all British Columbians and Canadians that come through here. But there’s a demographic in our society that’s been underserved, and that’s the Indigenous Peoples,” Derickson said.
“It isn’t until we see ourselves reflected in society, that we might start to take notice of what’s going on around us or that we can be a part of them because they’re (services) for us.”
While Kelowna has a new urgent care centre, Dix said West Kelowna won’t be getting one anytime soon.
Since June of 2018, Interior Health has also opened up a UPCC in Kamloops and Vernon.