Urgent and Primary Care Centre opens in Victoria

Victoria residents will have better access to team-based care with the opening of the new James Bay Urgent and Primary Care Centre (UPCC) set for April 28.

“Today we’re announcing the official opening of Victoria’s first urgent and primary care centre, which will benefit tens of thousands of people in James Bay and the surrounding area,” said Premier John Horgan. “We’re making progress on better, faster health care for people across the province, which is even more important during this challenging and uncertain time.”

The James Bay Urgent and Primary Care Centre will be operated by Island Health and will be located at the James Bay Community Project, 547 Michigan Street. The UPCC will offer a variety of primary care services including drop-in services and rapid access to mental health and substance use services provided by a team of general practitioners, nurse practitioners, nurses and mental health and substance use clinicians.

“Urgent and primary care centres provide a team-based approach that improves access to same-day care while reducing congestion at emergency departments,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “The COVID-19 pandemic has made it even more critical to protect our health-care system and our staff. The new UPCC in James Bay will help to divert even more patients with non-urgent issues such as sprains, minor cuts or burns from local emergency rooms, while still providing them with the comprehensive care they need.”

The UPCC is expected to provide tens of thousands of patient visits annually. As part of the clinic launch during this unusual time, the UPCC will open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on its first week - April 28th to May 3rd – before expanding its hours from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.

“I know how hard it can be for many people in James Bay and surrounding areas to find a family doctor and I am proud that our government is making a difference in the lives of people in the community by making team-based, comprehensive primary care a priority in B.C.,” said Carole James, MLA for Victoria – Beacon Hill. “This UPCC, which is a first in Victoria, will bring much needed services to local residents while helping to reduce congestion at the emergency departments in our region.”

Currently, due to the COVID-19 virus, patients are being asked to call ahead when possible. If someone does arrive unannounced, a patient ambassador will be located at the entrance of the UPCC to help determine the best way to support the patient through a virtual or in-person visit.

If a patient presents at the clinic with COVID-19-like symptoms and needs to be seen in person, they will be connected to the Victoria COVID-19 assessment clinic for further care.

Should an in-person visit not be required, they will be seen using virtual care.

In addition to improving access to same-day care, the James Bay UPCC will provide ongoing primary care through booked appointments. In the future, the UPCC will work to attach patients to primary-care providers.

“The current public health emergency is redirecting key Island Health resources to support COVID-19 planning and response,” says Island Health Board Chair Leah Hollins. “As such, current requirements related to physical distancing and availability of key health care providers have impacted Island Health’s short term plans to provide attachment to primary care providers at the James Bay UPCC. In the meantime, the facility is ready to serve members of the Victoria community with extended hours of care, 365 days a year.”

This is the third UPCC in the Island Health region. The first centre is located in Langford and has served more than 35,000 patient visits since opening in October 2018. The second centre opened in Nanaimo in September 2019 and has received approximately 25,000 patient visits.

About Island Health:

Island Health provides health care and support services to more than 800,000 people on Vancouver Island, the islands in the Salish Sea and the Johnstone Strait, and mainland communities north of Powell River. With more than 22,000 staff and over 2,000 physician partners, 6,000 volunteers, and the dedicated support of foundations and auxiliaries, Island Health delivers a broad range of health services, including: public health services, primary health care, home and community care, mental health and addictions services, acute care in hospitals, and much more across a huge, geographically diverse region.