Reported by Charlotte Drewett
A south Vancouver walk-in clinic has eliminated primary health care effective Nov. 3, creating questions about wait times at other clinics in the area.
Patients who strategically plan when they seek medical attention are sidestepping walk-in clinic wait times, according to some clinic users.
Viola Kaminski, public affairs officer for Vancouver Coastal Health, said they found that people using the South Community Health Centre “could have gone to a regular family doctor or a walk-in clinic and get the same care.”
The closure may mean higher wait times for other walk-in clinics in south Vancouver, but patients can avoid long delays at the South Vancouver Medical Clinic, said Lisa Hsu, the clinic’s manager.
Beating the line
Hsu said the clinic has an online booking service that allows patients to schedule an appointment in advance, and avoid unnecessary walk-in wait times.
“A lot of people like the online booking because it’s a lot easier for them,” Hsu said. “We do make sure that the… doctors have time to do walk-ins on top of appointments.”
South Vancouver resident Nancy Frank has used the medical clinic twice, and both times she pre-booked an appointment.
“It’s so easy to just book online,” Frank said. “My appointment was right on time.”
Pacific Medical Clinic doesn’t offer online booking but south Vancouver resident Thu Le has her own strategy to work around wait times.
Le said she drives by the clinic to see how many patients are in the waiting room. If there’s more than six or seven, she said she doesn’t bother going in.
“I don’t stop when there’s more people there, I know we’re going to wait an hour, so I just wait for next time,” Le said.
Kaminski said a nurse has been working with south Vancouver patients who need help finding a physician and that she hasn’t received any public feedback about the elimination of South Community Health Centre’s primary health care services.