Walk-ins welcome

On the issue of the shortage of doctors, why is there so much aversion here to the idea of walk-in clinics?

On the issue of the shortage of doctors, why is there so much aversion here to the idea of walk-in clinics?

The term “walk-in” merely implies that one can “walk in” (or “drop in”) when need arises, rather than having to book an appointment. Yes, one may have to sit and wait to see a doctor, but the same is often true under the appointment system.

What “walk-in” does not normally imply (though many people in B.C. seem to assume it does) is an after-hours clinic where doctors work only as an adjunct to their regular practice, a situation in which a patient cannot expect to build rapport with an individual doctor.  On the contrary, a fully functional walk-in clinic is the doctor’s regular practice, shared with several colleagues to allow for longer hours and flexible scheduling. The patient has the choice of either waiting to see a preferred doctor or seeing the first one available, and many patients build rapport with their regular doctor.

Having experienced both kinds of medical practice (single-doctor and walk-in clinics) in Edmonton over many years, I can assure your readers that, with the advent of drop-in clinics in the 1980s, ready access to family doctors and good health-care improved enormously, and both my husband and I easily found a favourite doctor in a convenient walk-in practice. (Check the MediCentres Edmonton website for more information about good walk-in clinics.)

Thinking outside the box, as suggested by Dr. Mark Morris, the speaker at the May 9 meeting, includes considering the possibility of “drop-in” or “walk-in” clinics, a concept that easily blends with the group clinic ideal that Dr. Morris recommends as a way of attracting young doctors to our area.

Elizabeth MarslandQualicum Beach