Worth the Wait | Knowledge.ca
Worth the Wait
Submitted by:
Sherri Crosby

I have moved and lived in various communities in BC in the past three years. Currently, I reside in Kamloops, BC. No doctors are taking new patients in this community. The way the walk-in clinics work here is you first must show up at the clinic at opening time to get an appointment for that same day. If you don't make it in early in the morning, you have to wait until the next day to try again to get a same day appointment. Although some clinics will make an appointment if you call at opening time, most are too busy to answer the phone or the line is busy, busy, busy. This poses many challenges for myself and others. If you are relying on public transit, you may not make it in on time to get an appointment, depending on where you live. If you are too sick to get up and get moving early in the morning because you did not sleep all night, etc, you may miss out on getting treatment that would help you recover quickly or prevent further complications like infections that would result in a required visit to an ER in the evening. Or, if your work schedule does not support you making it in at opening time of the clinic (and let's face it, many people have crap jobs that don't permit time off, unless you are willing to lose critically needed income). As well, if you suffer a non-life-threatening injury at some point throughout the day that needs to be assessed by a doctor, but you cannot go to a walk-in clinic until the next day, you have to consider going to the ER or suffer great pain, discomfort, and possible further complications if you don't and instead wait to go to a clinic the following day. These, and many other situations force many people to forego walk-in clinics due to their operative restrictions (which I have been told were imposed by local doctors) and to deal with a 4 to 12 hour wait in an emergency room. It is unfortunate that many communities are starting to implement restrictions that are for the benefit of the clinic's ease of operation, but not of the walk-in patients that often have no control over their situations, work schedules, transit schedules, etc. Clearly, there is a shortage of doctors and clinics (or clinic hours). Patients need to be allowed to discuss multiple needs at appointments and clinics must stop calling patients in to go over blood test results that do not require treatment - both of these would help to reduce "clinic grid-lock" by eliminating unnecessary multiple visits. If the clinics pose too many challenges to accessing their services, it is a no-brainer that it will result in many people overloading ER services. Why not enhance walk-in clinic services and extend hours to help reduce long waits in the ER?

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