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Penticton’s first Primary Care Centre officially opens

WATCH: (October 2019) As Shelby Thom reports, the opening of a primary care clinic in Penticton is expected to improve health services.

Penticton B.C.’s first Primary Care Network clinic officially opened on Friday, meaning patients already attached to family doctors practicing at the new centre will now have access to other healthcare professionals under one roof.

The Ponderosa Primary Care Centre, located at 2504 Skaha Lake Rd., houses six family physicians, two nurse practitioners, two registered nurses, a registered dietitian, a social worker and an occupational therapist.

“The doors at the Ponderosa Primary Care Centre are open, bringing better access to team-based and primary care services for people living in Penticton and South Okanagan,” said Minister of Health Adrian Dix.

Penticton family speaks out about losing only child arthritis specialist in B.C. Interior
Penticton family speaks out about losing only child arthritis specialist in B.C. Interior

The centre is a key component of the South Okanagan Similkameen Primary Care Network, which was announced in April, and includes Interior Health, the SOS Division of Family Practice, local First Nation communities, the Ministry of Health and Doctors of B.C.

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READ MORE: More doctors, new clinic planned for South Okanagan, Similkameen: B.C. government

Team-based care means patients have increased access to services, including the ongoing care of their physician or nurse practitioner, extending to specialized support of other health professionals, according to a press release issued by the SOS Division of Family Practice.

For example, during an appointment at Ponderosa, a patient’s physician or nurse practitioner may identify a health issue that could be more fully assessed or treated by a social worker or an occupational therapist.

“The Ponderosa Primary Care Centre will provide improved access to health care for patients in the Penticton region, making it easier for them to get the care they need through a team of health professionals,” added Dr. Doug Cochrane, Interior Health board chair.

New plan for health care in the South Okanagan
New plan for health care in the South Okanagan

Patient Jan Kostek said she looks forward to having greater access to a team of health care experts.

“It makes sense to see a dietitian if you have issues about diet. Having different providers working together is really best for the system, and really is best for the patient,” she said.

The centre is not a walk-in clinic. Only patients already attached to a family doctor or nurse practitioner in the centre will have access.

READ MORE: Centralized waitlist helping connect people with doctors, says South Okanagan Similkameen Division of Family Practice

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People who are still looking for a provider are asked to sign up online to be added to a centralized waitlist at http://www.divisions.bc.ca/sos.

The South Okanagan Similkameen (SOS) Division of Family Practice said thanks to its centralized regional waitlist, 1,057 patients were attached to a primary-care provider between April 1 and Sept. 10.

The centre also has extended hours from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday to Thursday, and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Fridays.

The clinic has plans to be open on weekends by spring 2020.