Residents in the Tri-Cities seeking urgent or primary medical care will have a new option beginning Monday (Nov. 7).
That’s when a new Urgent and Primary Care Centre opens in Port Moody at 3105 Murray St.
The 6,500 sq-ft. facility replaces a much smaller centre that’s been operating temporarily at Eagle Ridge Hospital since 2021.
Dr. Nimeera Kassam, the centre’s medical director said it will be "surreal" for her expanded team of more than 20 health professionals to be able to offer care at the expansive new location that consists of seven exam rooms as well as four consultation and assessment rooms after operating shoulder-to-shoulder with just two exam rooms at the nearby hospital for almost two years.
Health Minister Adrian Dix said the centre fills a gap in health care availability for people without a family doctor that offers a more integrated approach than a visit to a drop-in clinic.
By the time the centre is fully operational, it will be staffed with the full-time equivalent of 5.1 full-time family doctors, 5.6 nurse practitioners, 5.1 registered nurses and 9.7 allied health professionals like social workers, physiotherapists, clinical counsellors and dietitians.
"It brings together people who haven’t traditionally worked together," Dix said.
The centre will provide urgent care seven days a week, 365 days a year, from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., and full-service medical care from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays.
Its services include:
- new symptom diagnosis
- management of chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease
- collaborative prenatal and postpartum care
- contraception advice and treatment options
- mental health assessment, treatment and support
- substance use and addiction treatment and support
- prescription refills
- treatments and procedures for things like ear wax removal
- referrals to medical specialists and social services
Patients will be able to walk in for urgent care, or they can be referred by other health care professionals or community service providers.
Port Moody-Coquitlam MLA Rick Glumac, who attended an opening ceremony for the new centre today (Nov. 4), said the facility expects to see about 70,000 visitors a year when it’s fully staffed.
Kassam said the centre fills a special niche by providing timely and appropriate health care that doesn’t end with the application of a bandage or writing of a prescription. She said her team will address the “holistic needs” patients that will allow them to “not just survive, but to thrive.”
Dix said the centre’s opening comes at a critical time for health care in the province as the government continues to find ways to address shortfalls exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic such as a shortage of family doctors.
On Tuesday (Nov. 1), he announced a new pay model for physicians that he said should improve the career stability and recruitment of new doctors to family medicine and negotiations with nurses will begin imminently.
As well, he wants to make it easier for physicians with international credentials to integrate into the provincial system.
"All of these actions are required to serve everyone without a family doctor,” he said Friday. "There is more to do."