The West Shore will have a new health care option come the spring, with a focus on vulnerable populations.
Mitzi Dean, MLA for Esquimalt-Metchosin and Minister of Children and Family Development, said in a Friday announcement the new facility will be based in the existing Pacific Centre Family Services Association (PCFSA) site in Colwood and will feature 16 exam rooms and six virtual care stations.
“For many, many years, I have been hearing from residents on the West Shore that they haven’t had access to local health care,” Dean said. “The (centre) will help connect more people with the health care they need, when they need it and closer to home.”
The new centre will feature a staff of nine physicians, three nurse practitioners, three to four registered nurses, a social worker, four community health workers and an Elder in Residence. The centre is expected to have a capacity of 6,700 patients.
Services at the centre will be focused on people with mental health conditions, addictions, multiple chronic health conditions, seniors, Indigenous peoples, and gender-diverse people, and will include primary care and health promotion.
“We are grateful for the opportunity, and look forward to serving the needs of those in our community who have been consistently excluded from comprehensive, integrated health care as a result of discrimination and sociodemographic factors,” said Shawna Adams, PCFSA board chair.
The province will be contributing $4 million in operating budget once the centre is at full capacity, as well as up to $1.9 million for one-time startup costs.
Dr. Randal Mason, co-chair of South Island Division of Family Practice, said as a West Shore family doctor, he is excited to see the new service opening in the community.
“We all know there is a shortage of family doctors, nurse practitioners and primary care services in the western communities,” said Mason. “Having a community health centre which focuses on health equity and the social determinants of health is a significant step forward for the health of our community.”
The centre is a collaboration between the province and Pacific Centre Family Services Association, who will own and operate it in partnership with Island Health.