Regina Urgent Care Centre, 1st of its kind in the province, will begin seeing patients on July 2

An urgent care centre, the first of its kind in Saskatchewan, will be opening its doors on July 2.

Premier Scott Moe and Health Minister Everett Hindley, along with representatives from the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA), Hospitals of Regina Foundation and other partners, announced the grand opening of the new Regina Urgent Care Centre (UCC) on Thursday.

"We are very proud to see all the work that has gone into the Regina urgent care project," Moe said. "In 2020, we began discussions with health-care officials about strengthening the health system by addressing a gap identified between emergency departments and primary care.

"We are thrilled to be here today to deliver on our promise, which will significantly improve health-care services for Regina and area residents."

The $18.7-million UCC will function as an alternative to emergency departments for minor illness, injuries, and mental health and addiction supports that are non-life-threatening but require treatment before the following day, according to a provincial news release.

Capital funding

Initially, the UCC, located at 1320 Albert Street, will be open from 8 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. seven days a week. In the fall it is expected to become a 24-hour operation.

Capital funding for the project was provided by the provincial government, along with a contribution of $2.4 million from the Hospitals of Regina Foundation and its donors for technology, equipment, furniture and fixtures, the news release says.

"As we better understand the type of patients that are coming through — what the patient load will be like — we are anticipating probably anywhere in the neighbourhood of 20,000 visits per year" Hindley said.

There will be a triage area to help patients to navigate the centre.

A specific area for those with mental health and addictions problems will be staffed by psychiatric nurses, doctors if medical care is needed, and consultations for further treatment.

The new facility will have an area specifically for Mental Health and Addictions.
The new facility will have an area specifically for those with mental health and addictions problems. (Louise BigEagle, CBC/SK.)

"I think what's important is somebody will come in for episodic care, then there would be the appropriate follow-up done afterwards so that if you've come here for a mental-health or addictions concern, you're not left kind of waiting after the fact," the minister said. "You will be appropriately navigated, connected with the right kind of the next steps in your health-care journey."

Smudging area provided

Because some patients might arrive carrying all that they own in bags,  the centre will provide large and small lockers to safeguard their belongings.

A room that is for burning sweet grass or sage is set in the new centre, which has special air ventilation system.
The centre will feature a smudging room with a special ventilation system, a cultural space for First Nations patients. (Louise BigEagle, CBC/SK.)

The centre will have a smudging area with proper ventilation for those who use it.

"We have a significant First Nations population that … access is health care here in Regina, so it's important to have that cultural space so that they feel comfortable," Duncan said.

With 117 spaces currently filled, that figure will rise to 130 in the fall when the centre is open 24/7.  Forty doctors have already signed on to be a part of the rotation.

Most hires have come from within the Saskatchewan Health Authority, along with recent medical school graduates, recruitment from the Philippines and internationally educated health professionals.

The City of Saskatoon, in partnership with Ahtahkakoop Cree Nation, plans to open an urgent care centre as well.