By Josh Duncan | KelownaNow

Health Minister Adrian Dix was in Rutland March 23, 2023 to make a significant announcement regarding primary care in Kelowna. A new urgent and primary care centre (UPCC) is set to open this fall in Rutland at the corner of Hwy 33 and Rutland Road (110 Hwy 33).

It will be the second UPCC to open in Kelowna, the first being at Capri Centre, and the third for the Central Okanagan, as there is one in West Kelowna.

(L-R) Chair Loyal Wooldridge, Interior Health CEO Susan Brown, BC Health Minister Adrian Dix, Mayor Tom Dyas, MLA Renee Merrifield, MLA Norm Letnick

“In the near future, the residents of Kelowna and surrounding communities will benefit from much-needed increased access to primary-care services,” said Dix.

Dix estimated that the new UPCC will have over 30 healthcare professionals on staff, including family doctors, nurse practitioners, nurses, social workers, physiotherapists and life-skills workers.

It will be open from 9:30 am until 8:30 pm, seven days a week, once it opens in the fall.

The main purpose of a UPCC is to provide urgent care to people who need to see a health-care provider within 12-24 hours, but don’t require a trip to the emergency department at Kelowna General Hospital.

That could include patients with sprains, cuts, high fevers, minor infections or other similar medical issues.

Its second purpose will be to help attach more patients to the clinic to provide ongoing term-based primary-care services, including for mental health.

“This new urgent and primary-care centre will provide much needed health-care services in the fast-growing urban centre of Rutland and is a welcomed step forward in building a healthier Kelowna,” noted Loyal Wooldridge, chair of the Central Okanagan Regional Hospital District.

In addition to the UPCC, a community health centre (CHC) for Rutland is also under development in a partnership through multiple agencies.

According to the Province, it will provide improved access to team-based, longitudinal primary-care services as part of the Central Okanagan Primary Care Network.

More details about the CHC will be made available in the coming weeks.