The Westshore Urgent Primary Care Centre celebrated its 5000th patient on Friday, just over three months after the facility opened.
Martine Roher, a Sooke resident, made his way to the centre on Friday after falling on his stairs. He said he has a family doctor, but needed care that day so decided to go to the centre. He said he thought it would take less time than the emergency room at the hospital.
“I called my family doctor and she told me to come here,” Roher said. “She said if you want something today with x-ray, come here.”
Roher’s wife, Erin Fields, went to the centre with him and said she was comforted to know it exists.
“Because we’re out in Sooke I’ve always been worried…what if there’s an emergency? I’m afraid of that big long drive into Victoria,” Fields said. “To know that you can just get here is a really big deal.”
Deborah Cracknell, the director of community health services for Sooke, Esquimalt and the West Shore said it is estimated that about 30,000 people in the western communities do not have a family physician or primary care provider.
“We have provided a service to this community that just over three months ago just wasn’t available,” Cracknell said. “Having treated 5,000 patients we can say we are definitely meeting a need in the community for this type of treatment.”
The centre’s manager, Kevin Farmer, said people have been very receptive to the centre.
“We have an amazing staff who are very empathetic and caring and it really makes a difference for people when they come in the door,” Farmer said. “A lot of our staff live in this community so they are very dedicated to serving it.”
The centre is staffed with three registered nurses and two physicians seven days a week, one nurse practitioner five days a week, and administrative staff and a behavioural mental health consultant. They are open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day of the week and are hoping to increase physician time due to the demand, Farmer said.
Cracknell said the centre sees about 50 to 60 patients per day on average. The centre’s team addresses a range of health concerns which could include fevers, determining injuries and mental health services.
Anyone can go to the clinic but the services are for patients who need urgent access to care with conditions that should be seen to within 12 to 24 hours, Cracknell said.
Currently, the Westshore Urgent Primary Care Centre is the only one of its kind on the Island.
Next steps for the facility will be to hopefully treat more patients in the clinic, Cracknell said.
A same-day mental health substance use access team will also be providing mental health and substance use services to the community. Cracknell said there is also space for primary care practices in the building so the clinic will be working with the province and local governments to help attach patients to a primary care physician.
“We are open 12 hours a day, seven days a week,” Cracknell said. “Patients have been delighted that we have been here after hours…on the weekends…people are very appreciative of the service we’re providing.”