(Nexus Primary Care Clinic opening in Nanaimo/Photo submitted by Ministry of Health)

A new primary health care clinic run by nurse practitioners in Nanaimo has announced a gradual opening this week.

In a statement on Monday, the B.C. Ministry of Health announced the opening of the Nexus Primary Care Clinic in Nanaimo, which will open on Tuesday June 30 with two nurse practitioners on staff at the beginning.

The clinic will gradually increase its staff and by September 15 2020, the team will be made up of six nurse practitioners, two registered nurses, a social worker and mental-health clinicians.

See also: Premier Horgan announces new Urgent Primary Care Centre opening in Victoria next week

Located at #3-1273 Island Hwy, the clinic will be run by nurse practitioners—nurses who have undergone additional training and can autonomously diagnose and treat illnesses, order and interpret tests, prescribe medications, and perform medical procedures.

“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,” said Minister of Health Adrian Dix in a statement.

“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.”

The facility will be owned and operated by the Nexus Patient and Community Care Society in partnership with the Nurses and Nurse Practitioners of BC and Island Health.

A $2 million operating budget is being provided by the provincial government, plus approximately $495,000 as a one-time cost.

Appointments can be made virtually and in person, and current hours are Monday, Tuesday and Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Wednesday and Thursday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Hours of operation will expand to include weekday evenings and Saturdays once the facility is fully staffed on September 15.