It will soon be easier for Surrey residents to receive primary health care with a new urgent primary-care centre set to open across from Surrey Memorial this fall. The announcement was made this week by Premier John Horgan who says this centre will improve quality of care, and provide more care to more people.

“Team-based care is the future of health care, and will be the standard for primary care throughout B.C.,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “Urgent primary-care centres are part of an overhaul of the way British Columbians access day-to-day health care. One in six people in this province don’t have a doctor. For too long, over half of the people living in B.C. have been unable to get same-day or next-day appointments with their primary-care providers. It’s time for families to have easier and improved access to health care.”

The Surrey Urgent Primary Care Centre will be integrated into a local network of health-care providers, services and programs, making it easier for people to receive follow-up care and access other services they may need. The centre, and the primary-care network it will be a part of, will work to connect people to consistent health-care providers in the community who are accepting new patients. Close to 78,000 people in Surrey do not have a family doctor.

“Surrey is one of the fastest growing communities in Canada, and we want to support people of all ages and walks of life in accessing the services they need to thrive,” said Michael Marchbank, Fraser Health’s president and CEO. “The new Surrey Urgent Primary Care Centre connects people directly to a team-based approach to health care, which will collaboratively address their health and social needs in a single setting, before emergency interventions are needed.”

The centre will have a team of doctors, nurses, nurse practitioners, pharmacists and other health-care professionals working together to the full extent of their skills, to provide a broad range of services. At full staffing, this centre will be able to accommodate up to 1,300 unique patient visits per week, and attach up to 5,000 patients over time. Among these patients will be vulnerable residents who have complex care needs, including the frail and elderly, people needing specialized mental health and substance-use services, and the North Surrey/Whalley community.

The centre will also provide diagnosis and care for non-emergency conditions requiring medical attention within 12 to 24 hours, including lacerations, earaches, back pain, and sore throats.

The hours of the Surrey Urgent Primary Care Centre will be daily from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. The centre will be located at 9639 – 137A St., near specialists’ offices, supportive health-care services and Surrey Memorial Hospital. The proximity to the hospital will make it easy for hospital staff to refer patients to the centre for follow-up care, when appropriate. As well, the centre’s staff will be able to easily direct people to hospital-based services, when necessary.