All systems now a go

Urgent care opened on Monday at Oceanside Health Centre in Parksville; family doctor added for Sept. 30

The pieces of a complicated puzzle seem to be coming into place at the Oceanside Health Centre.

The Vancouver Island Health Authority says residents and visitors will have closer-to-home access to immediate, same-day medical services now that the urgent care service in the new Oceanside Health Centre (OHC) opened on Monday.

“The Oceanside Health Centre’s urgent care service has been an eagerly-awaited new and additional medical service for this community,” Michelle Stilwell, MLA for Parksville-Qualicum said through a VIHA release. “With urgent care now being available locally, more patients will be able to get the care they need without having to travel to an emergency department in Nanaimo, Comox or Port Alberni.”

This comes on the heels of another VIHA announcement last week that Dr. Marlene van der Weyde, a family physician based in Qualicum Beach, is relocating her practice to the OHC effective Sept. 30 and will be accepting new patients.

“I am excited to be joining the Oceanside Health Centre team,” Dr. van der Weyde said in a VIHA-issued news release. “My existing and new patients will now have access to a team of health care professionals, including myself, a nurse practitioner and a counsellor.”

Urgent care OHC will be available seven days per week, 365 days a year from 7:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. No medical appointment is needed for urgent care. Urgent care assesses and treats medical conditions that need same-day care but do not require hospital-based emergency department services.

On the primary care side, according to VIHA, Dr. van der Weyde is one of up to four new physicians who will eventually provide team-based primary care services in the OHC. Initially, primary care services will be available from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday, with extended hours to 6 p.m on Tuesday and Thursday. In the future, VIHA says clinic hours will expand to 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday to Saturday.

Enrolment forms for primary care are available at the Oceanside Health Centre reception, and on the VIHA website, www.viha.ca/locations/oceanside.htm. VIHA said it recognizes there are likely to be more Oceanside residents interested in enrolling in the practice than there are initial spots available. VIHA said patients will be accepted into the practice based on the following criteria:

• First priority will be for Oceanside residents without a family doctor.

• The next priority will be Oceanside residents with a family doctor outside the community (e.g. Lower Mainland or elsewhere on Vancouver Island).

• Once the needs of the first two groups have been met, other Oceanside residents wishing to move to the new practice will be considered, especially those who might benefit more from the multi-disciplinary team approach to care. Island Health will work with local family practices to help identify and transition these patients.

Primary care is defined as the initial contact patients have with a health care provider such as a family physician, nurse practitioner or other health care worker at the community level. The primary care service in the OHC is linked to all other programs available through the Centre, which will ensure patient care and follow-up is coordinated.

Primary Care treats new and chronic illnesses and injuries; provides pre- and post-natal care; tends to child and youth health; delivers immunizations; supports health prevention management; manages emotional health (such as depression or stable mental health conditions); treats and cares for complex illnesses; manages chronic diseases; supports palliative care; conducts assessment and referrals and champions preventative care and wellness support.