Urgent primary care centre to open in Quesnel

Northern B.C.'s first urgent primary care centre will soon be up and running in Quesnel.

To be housed at the G.R. Baker Hospital in the community of 8,718 people 116 kilometres south of Prince George, it will accept its first patients on Oct. 31, B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix said Wednesday.

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It's among 10 the provincial government plans to open across the province over the next year.

The centres are to be staffed by a team of health professionals including doctors, a nurse practitioner and nurses and are meant to make it easier for patients to receive follow-up care and access to other services they may need - and lessen the load on the emergency department.

Quesnel's centre will be located within the hospital at the community health services site at 543 Front St. and be open Monday to Friday, noon to 8 p.m. and on weekends and statutory holidays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

It will provide appointments to patients including the frail elderly, people with mental-health and substance-use needs and patients unattached to a physician and will work in conjunction with community health services, which is open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day.

The Health Ministry is providing $1.1 million a year to operate the centre.

As part of its strategy to open the 10 centres across B.C., the government also plans to recruit 200 family doctors and 200 nurse practitioners, and hire 50 clinical pharmacists.

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