The first primary care clinic on Vancouver Island led by nurse practitioners is opening tomorrow.

The province, in collaboration with the Nurses and Nurse Practitioners of BC and Vancouver Island Health, is launching the Nexus Primary Care Clinic.

Minister of Health, Adrian Dix says the clinic will help limit the amount of time people have to wait to receive treatment.

“Our priority is to find new, innovative ways of working, co-ordinating services and delivering care so that British Columbians don’t have to wait so long, travel so far and search so hard for the care they need,” said Dix.

The clinic will be located at #3-1273 Island Highway in Nanaimo, and Dix adds that while this is the first one on Vancouver Island, more could be coming in the future.

“Nurse practitioners are a viable, patient-centred solution to improving access, but we know that compared to other jurisdictions, B.C. has not made the best use of nurse practitioners. This is the first nurse practitioner primary care clinic that we have established under the Province’s Primary Care Strategy, and there is more to come. These clinics will connect more people with the care they need, when they need it most.”

Nurse practitioners are health workers who can work on their own, or with physicians and other health professionals, to provide care across a person’s life span. This includes diagnosing and treating illnesses, ordering and interpreting tests, prescribing medications and performing medical procedures.

The clinic will open gradually starting tomorrow with two full-time nurse practitioners.

By September 15th, the province says the clinic will have four more nurses join the team, along with two registered nurses, a social worker and mental-health clinicians to provide team-based care to people in the greater Nanaimo area.

The clinic will be open Monday, Tuesday and Friday from 8:30am to 4:30pm and Wednesday and Thursday from 10:00 are to 6:00pm.

The provincial government is providing an operating budget of approximately $2-million as well as approximately $495,000 for one-time startup costs.