Victoria has 2nd longest wait times for walk-in clinics in Canada: Report

Victoria has 2nd longest wait times for walk-in clinics in Canada: Report
CHEK
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For the second year in a row, Victoria has recorded the second-longest average wait time for walk-in clinics in Canada.

According to Medimap — a website that tracks wait times for walk-in clinics across most of the country — the average wait time to see a doctor at a walk-in clinic in Victoria in 2023 was 107 minutes.

That total marks the second longest wait time in Canada, and is beaten only by North Vancouver, where wait times were an average of 187 minutes, the longest in the country by far.

Victoria’s 2023 wait times are actually down from last year, when patients could expect to wait 137 minutes at walk-in clinics in 2022, according to Medimap.

Across the country, the national wait time average for 2023 was 68 minutes, nearly doubling the previous average of 37 minutes in 2022.

Across B.C., the average wait time for a walk-in clinic is 93 minutes, up from 79 minutes the year before.

Despite the scathing numbers showing wait times getting worse, B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix is defiant, saying his government’s improvements are working

“We continue to work with walk-in clinics… we have a stabilization plan which has helped a lot of walk-in clinics across the province, but the progress here, as such, you talk about the whole country,” said Dix at the legislature Wednesday.

“All of the other jurisdictions are looking to British Columbia and following our model of addressing primary care.”

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(Medimap)

How Victoria ranks in B.C.

Victoria has the second longest wait time in B.C., at 107 minutes, dwarfing some of the other average wait times seen on the province’s mainland.

B.C.’s capital has wait times that are nearly double those seen in Vancouver, where residents have to wait an average of 62 minutes before seeing a doctor at a walk-in clinic.

The shortest wait time for a walk-in clinic in B.C. is in Chilliwack, where residents can expect to wait an average of 44 minutes.

Ahead of Victoria, in first place, is the aforementioned North Vancouver, while Kelowna follows closely behind B.C.’s capital with average wait times of 104 minutes.

“B.C. has an unusual problem on its hands – recent changes to the physician payment model have resulted in some walk-in clinics actually closing, exacerbating the very problem the change was trying to address,” said Thomas Jankowski, CEO of Medimap in a release Wednesday.

“So while some people are getting better, more encompassing care if they get rostered at a medical clinic, those without one sometimes end up suffering more,” he said.

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(Medimap)

Earlier this month, the province said 4,000 family doctors have signed up for the new payment model, with some 708 new family doctors starting to work in B.C. between December 2022 and December 2023.

Dr. Ahmer Karimuddin, president of Doctors of BC, said the province was moving in the right direction but that the road ahead would still be a long one.

“Addressing this challenge, as we know, is not an easy one,” he said at a news conference on Feb. 9. “The underlying factors contributing to it were complex and solutions for most of these things unfortunately just take time. There’s still a lot of work to be done.”

RELATED: Island Health has second highest increase in family doctors in past year

National rankings

Medimap records wait times for six provinces in Canada, including B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and Nova Scotia.

Manitoba saw the shortest average wait times in 2023, with 45 minutes, while B.C. saw the longest at 93 minutes.

All of these six provinces saw increases to their average wait times, except for Nova Scotia, where wait times fell slightly from 83 minutes in 2022 to 72 minutes in 2023.

(Medimap)

With files from CHEK’s Tchadas Leo and Laura Brougham

Adam ChanAdam Chan

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