The Vancouver Island Health Authority (VIHA) says residents and visitors to Parksville Qualicum Beach will have closer-to-home access to immediate, same-day medical services when the urgent care service in the new Oceanside Health Centre (OHC) opens on Monday, Sept. 16.
"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 in a news release issued by VIHA on Wednesday. "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."
Urgent care in the OHC will be available seven days per week, 365 days per year from 7:30 am to 10:30 pm. 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.
Medical conditions that can be treated in urgent care include asthma, simple fractures, lacerations, acute pain, shortness of breath, infections and allergic reactions. Patients experiencing symptoms of stroke or heart attack or have suffered a major trauma should call 9-1-1 and ambulance paramedics will decide where the patient needs to go for care.
Island Health (Vancouver Island Health Authority) has developed a fact sheet to help members of the public determine if they need emergency or urgent care or if their condition can be seen by their family doctor or at a walk-in clinic.
"We have 13 family practitioners who have signed up to provide urgent care in the Oceanside Health Centre," said Dr. Bob Burns, Executive Medical Director, Population and Community Health with Island Health. "This is a unique, patient-focused way of delivering health care services; any treatment that a patient receives in urgent care will be linked to the patients' medical record in any Island Health facility and to their own family practitioner; those without a family practitioner will be referred to the primary care services in the Oceanside Health Centre."
The Oceanside Health Centre is a new health care facility operated by Island Health. Located at 489 Alberni Highway in Parksville, the facility began a phased-in opening of services in June 2013. The facility will be fully operational on September 30, 2013, when primary care opens, delivering an augmented approach to care by providing patients with team-based primary and community services that focus on prevention, wellness and disease management, as well as urgent care services that provide same day medical care for medical issues that require immediate attention.
VIHA also said it is pleased to announce that Dr. Marlene van der Weyde, a family physician based in Qualicum Beach, is relocating her practice to the OHC and will be accepting new patients.
“I am excited to be joining the Oceanside Health Centre team,” said Dr. van der Weyde. “My existing and new patients will now have access to a team of health care professionals, including myself, a nurse practitioner and a counsellor. Our patients will be part of an integrated health network which will support better access to other healthcare services such as seniors’ health, diabetes education, mental health programs, healthy heart programs, homecare and wound care services.”
VIHA says 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 available from 9:00 am to 4:30 pm Monday, Wednesday and Friday, with extended hours to 6:00 pm on Tuesday and Thursday. In the future, clinic hours will expand to 8:00 am to 6:00 pm, Monday to Saturday.
“By having more primary care capacity in the community, our families, especially seniors, are benefitting from a one-stop shop to access health care needs," said Stilwell.
Enrolment forms for primary care are available at the OHC reception, and on the Island Health website, www.viha.ca/locations/oceanside.htm. Island Health said it recognizes there are likely to be more Oceanside residents interested in enrolling in the practice than there are initial spots available. Patients will be accepted into the practice based on the following criteria, according to VIHA:
• 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.
More information about the Oceanside Health Centre is available at www.viha.ca/locations/oceanside.htm.
— NEWS Staff/VIHA