British Columbia

First of its kind urgent care centre to open in Surrey

The province will soon open its first mental health and substance use urgent care centre in Surrey, B.C. The centre will begin welcoming patients by the end of July.

The mental health and addictions care centre will open by the end of the month

The centre, which will be the first of its kind in the province, is pictured during a media conference in Surrey, British Columbia on Wednesday July 10, 2019. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

The province's first ever urgent mental health and addictions care centre will open in Surrey, B.C., at the end of the month and become fully operational by Aug. 7.

Mental Health and Addictions Minister Judy Darcy says people in need of urgent care can be referred to the centre and connected with specialty services that will provide patients with a therapeutic environment while easing pressure on hospital emergency departments.

"When you or a loved one needs urgent support for a mental health or substance use challenge, the last thing you want to hear is take a number," said Darcy. "This centre will provide easy-to-access services where people ask for help once and get help fast, all in one welcoming place."

MLA Judy Darcy speaks to media during the opening of the Surrey Mental Health and Substance Use Urgent Care Response Centre in Surrey, British Columbia on Wednesday July 10, 2019. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

The centre, located in the Charles Barham Pavilion on the Surrey Memorial Hospital campus, is part of the province's Pathway to Hope plan to make mental health and addictions care "better and more accessible" for British Columbians. 

Patients can be referred by care providers or emergency departments looking to connect them with specialty services. According to the province, the centre will be staffed by more than 80 people, including physicians, counsellors and social workers.

Medication-assisted treatment

During the Wednesday news conference, Darcy confirmed the centre would also be using medication-assisted treatments to help patients.

She says Opioid Agonist Therapy (OAT) allows doctors and nurse practitioners to prescribe patients medical-grade opioids such as methadone as a form of treatment for their addictions. 

"And we're looking for new projects, new pilot projects constantly to ensure that we can have safe prescription alternatives for people who are addicted to drugs so that they are not turning to the unsafe and unpredictable drug supply on the street," she said.

Minister Judy Darcy on the benefits of medication assisted treatment

Opioid Agonist Therapy (OAT) allows doctors and nurse practitioners to prescribe patients medical-grade opioids such as Methadone as a form of treatment for their addictions.  0:56

Health-care providers will also have access to Telehealth, which according to the province will allow doctors and nurses to access mental health and substance use care expertise in real-time from their own office. 

Surrey Mental Health and Substance Use Urgent Care Response Centre is pictured during a news conference in Surrey, British Columbia on Wednesday July 10, 2019. It is the first centre of its kind in B.C. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

Once fully operational, the centre will be open 16 hours a days, seven days a week. The project is expected to cost $8.9 million a year.

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