By: Pranjali J Mann, News Writer
Burnaby-Metrotown will be getting a new urgent and primary care centre (UPCC), and official operations began on November 1, 2022. The ribbon-cutting ceremony on October 29, included BC legislative and municipal officials as well as physicians. This 696 square meters facility has spaces for group therapy, consultation rooms, and education rooms.
UPCC, according to the Fraser Health website, provides alternate care for “non-life-threatening medical concerns” in absence of family practitioners and access to walk-in clinics. In addition, it connects individuals’ health care needs to available medical services in the community.
The new health care facility will cater to the “province’s growing, and aging population.” The 29th UPCC facility in BC is set to provide for both “non-emergency urgent care” and “long-term care” avenues. The service includes care in the cases of “minor cuts or burns, headaches, sprains, and those experiencing mental-health and substance-use challenges.” This facility will be open every day of the week from 9:00 a.m.–8:00 p.m.. Long-term care would include provisions for regular, “planned primary care,” along with extending care to the “unattached residents.” Unattached residents are those who are not attached to a primary care physician or family doctor.
BC’s minister for child care, Katrina Chen, said, “People in Burnaby and surrounding areas need improved access to primary care close to home. The new Urgent and Primary Care Centre in Metrotown will help fill this need and is an important step in delivering on the promise of a stronger, more accessible health-care system for us all.”
The UPCC is located at Unit 102-4555 Kingsway and will be open weekends and evening hours to reduce the burden on existing facilities in Greater Vancouver. The existing UPCC’s are in Surrey, Burnaby, Maple Ridge, Port Moody, and Abbotsford.
The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) is concerned about the existing challenges within the Canadian healthcare system. President of CMA told CTV News she is concerned that Canada is experiencing a “collapse of the current healthcare system.” This is because UPCC facilities and emergency centres can’t keep up with the growing number of patients, with waiting times up to 20 hours. Canada’s entire healthcare industry is experiencing large staffing shortages and ongoing waves of COVID-19 continue to affect the whole system. 2022 has seen higher waves of COVID-19 hospitalizations than previous years in the pandemic.
Dr. Victoria Lee, president and CEO of Fraser Health, stated, “This UPCC will enhance access to urgent care services for Burnaby residents and connect people to community services and care providers who will work together to provide a holistic, culturally safe approach to care.”