It can be stressful, even scary, when you or a loved one needs urgent care. It’s even worse if you aren’t sure that care is going to be available when and where you need it. That worry has become a reality for British Columbians everywhere due to overcrowded emergency rooms and not enough family doctors.
This accessibility crisis didn’t happen overnight. For more than a decade the previous BC Liberal Government neglected healthcare. They made promise after promise to build more hospitals and expand services but they never delivered.
I’m proud to be part of a government that is making different choices. Our New Democrat Government is focused on making life better for everyone. We’re building Urgent Primary Care Centres (UPCCs) right across the province to expand care options.
A UPCC is a new way of ensuring everyone can access primary and urgent care. You can visit a centre without an appointment and get help fast. Staff can help you with sprains, fractures, minor cuts and burns, rapid access to mental health services, abdominal pain, skin rashes, seniors care, maternity care, and on-site or diagnostic imaging and laboratory services such as X-rays or blood tests.
A few weeks ago my community office was contacted by a constituent named Janus. Her wife, Barb, had been diagnosed with early-onset dementia. They didn’t have a family doctor and the walk-in clinics they visited were unsuitable to provide the care she needed.
Desperate, they reached out to me. They were willing to move anywhere in the province to secure a family doctor who would take them on as patients.
Imagine their relief when we told them they had a new option: they could go to the Burnaby UPCC. It had only been open a few weeks so they hadn’t yet heard of it. My staff told them all about these new centres and how they are addressing gaps in primary care.
Janus and Barb went the next day. The email I received from them later that day reminded me of why I ran for office in the first place. After a single visit, they felt they had made progress for the first time since their journey began.
Barb’s medications were adjusted, her diagnosis was changed. Through the UPCC they now have access to a primary care physician on a regular basis.
The choices a government makes can have life-changing results, as they did for Janus and Barb. Minister of Health, Adrian Dix, has worked hard to create these centres right across the province. To date, we have opened 12 UPCCs and we’re just getting started.
We know we have more work to do to ensure health care services are available where and when you need them. Stories like Janus and Barb’s are encouraging. We can build on the success UPCCs are already demonstrating.
Visit Burnaby’s UPCC at 7315 Edmonds St.