On Tuesday, provincial health officials announced that the centre will be operated by Interior Health and will open its doors on March 31st.
The urgent and primary care centre (UPCC) will be located at Unit 101, 437 Martin Street. Reasons for visiting a UPCC and not a hospital include sprains, minor cuts or burns, high fevers and minor infections.
“Let me say this,” provincial health minister Adrian Dix said during an online meeting. “Interior Health has done an extraordinary job with urgent and primary care centres.
“It’s one thing to drive forward with an idea, but the urgent and primary care centres in Interior Health are second to none in the country.”
Dix said Kelowna’s UPCC, located at the Capri Mall, had the second-most patient visits in B.C. He also mentioned UPCCs in Kamloops and Vernon being busy as well.
Penticton’s UPCC was developed in close cooperation with the South Okanagan Division of Family Practice.
“People of Penticton know that Interior Health knows how to do this model,” said Dix. “And they know how to do this model because we have Divisions of Family Practice who support us.”
The Penticton site will feature just over 6,000 square feet of space and will include waiting, consultation and exam rooms, along with approximately 14 full-time health providers.
Dix said the site — the province’s 23rd — will also feature help for people seeking mental health and substance-abuse needs.
The health minister said services will be provided in a phased approach.
The centre will temporarily run Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., but when it’s fully opened, care will be available seven days a week.
Interior Health CEO Susan Brown said this will be the region’s sixth UPCC, and that it will serve Penticton and the surrounding area, including Summerland.
“We know the difference that this makes to families and patients,” said Brown. “The UPCC is part of the larger primary care network, and we’ve been working in the South Okanagan for a couple of years to develop that.
“It’s been great and we’re proud to work alongside our partners – the Okanagan-Similkameen Division of Family Practice, the Penticton Indian Band, the Osoyoos Indian Band, the Lower Similkameen Indian Band and the Upper Similkameen Indian Band.
“Working together, we’re not only strengthening, but we’re growing the primary care services and adding new options for patients and families across the region.”