The provincial government and Interior Health are opening an urgent and primary care centre in Rutland.
The centre will be the third of its kind in the Central Okanagan, after one in Kelowna at Capri Centre and another in West Kelowna.
The facility will open in the fall at 110 Highway 33 with operating hours of 9:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., seven days a week. It will focus on providing healthcare to people who need care within 12 to 24 hours but do not require a visit to the emergency department.
“That would be things such as sprains and cuts and high fevers and minor infections,” said Health Minister Adrian Dix.
It will be staffed by 31.3 full-time equivalent employees, including family doctors, nurse practitioners, nurses, social workers, physiotherapists and life skills workers.
"The urgent and primary care centres in this region are the best staffed and the public response has been the largest of any region in British Columbia,” Dix said.
The urgent and primary care centre in West Kelowna is currently only open four hours a day during the week and nine hours a day on the weekend.
Dix said they have focused their resources on the Westside to provide service during hours when other clinics are closed, but said they are aggressively recruiting.
“I'm confident we can do that,” he said, explaining that the urgent care centre in Kelowna has the highest patient visits per capita in of any centre in B.C.
Interior Health will operate the centre and collaborate with the Central Okanagan Division of Family Practice to integrate the facility into the Rutland/Lake Country Primary Care Network, as part of the larger Central Okanagan Primary Care Network.
Dix said he has worked closely with local opposition MLAs Norm Letnick and Renee Merrifield on the Rutland care centre. In a somewhat unusual move for politicians sitting on opposite sides of the aisle, Dix welcomed both Letnick and Merrifield to the podium to speak about the project.
“I think everyone knows the need is great. The need is great all throughout the province. But today's day is the Rutland day and we've had a rough week in Rutland,” Letnick said, referring to the swarming attack on an international student last week and the death of Al Horning.
Letnick presented Dix with a “Rutland Strong” t-shirt near the end of the announcement.