New nurse practitioner primary care clinic opening soon in Victoria

People and families in Victoria will soon have access to more primary health-care services with the opening of a primary care clinic operated by nurse practitioners on Sept. 28, 2020.

The Province is launching Health Care on Yates, a nurse practitioner primary care clinic, in collaboration with the Victoria Primary Care Society, Nurses and Nurse Practitioners of BC and Island Health to provide team-based primary care services to residents.

This nurse practitioner primary care clinic is developed by nurse practitioners and forms an integral part of government’s broader primary care strategy. Similar to clinics led by family doctors, it will provide patients with more opportunities to get attached to a primary care provider and to receive the care they need when they need it the most.

“We are implementing innovative ways to give people more access to primary health-care services. Nurse practitioners are part of B.C.’s primary care strategy and work together with doctors and other health-care professionals to improve the primary care system in the province,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “This is the third nurse practitioner primary care clinic that we are establishing under our strategy and the first in Victoria. These clinics will connect more people with the care they need, closer to home.”

The clinic is undergoing renovations and has begun gradually registering area residents without a primary care provider since Aug. 10. In the first two weeks, the clinic received over 1,000 registration requests. People who do not have a primary care provider and who live within the clinic’s catchment area can become a patient by completing a registration form.

As of Sept. 10, more than 550 patients and families have been registered and are able to book virtual primary care appointments with clinic nurse practitioners. In-person and same-day, team-based primary care appointments will be available at 1139 Yates St. once renovations are complete.

Health Care on Yates is open for virtual care appointments Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Once renovated, hours will expand to Monday to Thursday, 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., Fridays 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Saturdays from 8:30 a.m. to noon. 

Currently, six full-time equivalent (FTE) nurse practitioners are employed by the clinic. When fully staffed, the clinic will include registered nurses, a social worker and a mental health and substance use clinician, for a total of 10 FTE health-care staff and four medical office assistants.

As a team, they will work to attach approximately 6,800 people without a primary care provider to a nurse practitioner over the next three years and will integrate into a primary care network, along with other primary care clinics in Victoria.

“The clinic would not be possible without the dedication of Island Health, Nurses and Nurse Practitioners of BC, and committed local nurse practitioners,” Dix said. “We will continue our collaborative work to make sure that clinics led by nurse practitioners become an integral part of health care throughout the province.”

The B.C. government will provide annual operating funding of approximately $2 million when fully staffed, as well as fund one-time startup costs of $445,500.

This is the third nurse practitioner primary care clinic in B.C. and the second to be announced on Vancouver Island. The first clinic opened in Nanaimo in June 2020 and the second opened in Surrey in September 2020. 

Read the full release including additional resources and backgrounders from BC Gov News.