NANAIMO — A well-used walk-in clinic in downtown Nanaimo will be expanded into an urgent care centre, adding more doctors and services by this summer.
The province announced Wednesday the Medical Arts Centre in Port Place Shopping Centre will be expanded into an urgent and primary care facility. The expansion is expected to add more than 14 full-time equivelant health care providers, including four more doctors, registered nurses, mental health and substance use clinicians, social workers and a pharmacist, a government release said.
Dr. Robin Love, who works at the centre as wekk as many other health care positions, said bringing local doctors already established in the community into the centre won't impact existing services.
"We're keeping the shifts shorter so doctors will still work their regular full day at the office," he told NanaimoNewsNOW. "It doesn't help capacity if you stop your office to do the urgent care."
Open seven days a week, the province said the urgent care centre will offer additional same-day appointments, extended hours of operation and should serve 25,000 more patient visits per year.
Love said the centre is an interesting and hectic place to work and functions as a fast-tracked emergency room.
"We see a lot of interesting and challenging case and the pressure is pretty high. The last shift I did, there was more than 25 people waiting the whole time."
The full range of services are expected to be in place at the centre by June 2019 and the annual operating cost is estimated to be $2.7 million.
It will be the seventh urgent and primary care facility introduced throughout B.C.
Heath minister Adrian Dix said the facility in Langford, which was one of the first opened, saw immediate success in providing more care and alleviating stress on the health care system.
The urgent care centre was promised by the NDP during the recent provincial byelection campaign, but the announcement included few details at the time.
On Twitter: @NanaimoNewsNOW
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