B.C father calls for change in how walk-in clinics operate throughout province

A walk-in clinic.
A walk-in clinic. Global News

Surrey father Brett Rodway needed to see a doctor so that his 12-year old son could have some stitches removed.

But his family’s doctor’s office was closed, so he went to a walk-in clinic after school.

He was told the clinic wasn’t taking any more patients as they had reached their quota for the day.

“So she said we’re full you can try some others, but we’re not going to be able to help you,” Rodway said.

He tried again the next morning before 8 a.m. but was told they weren’t seeing any more patients that day.

“It was a real shock to me that at 7:40 in the morning they were full for the day, they weren’t taking any more patients.”

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LISTEN: Jon McComb speaks with Surrey father Brett Rodway

He tried another clinic a half hour later but already they had 30 patients on the wait list.

He was told he could try the emergency ward at Surrey Memorial Hospital or just wait at the clinic — he settled on the latter.


“There’s clearly issues and a broken situation when you’re asking people with very simple issues to go to an ER, that doesn’t make sense,” Rodway said.

“There shouldn’t be a situation where we need to go to an ER just for something so simple, it’s not logical and it’s something that needs to be addressed.

WATCH: B.C. walk-in clinics press for more doctors

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B.C. walk-in clinics press for more doctors

“When we’re sitting in ERs for three or four hours or longer these aren’t great situations and maybe there are some ways to release the pressure on the system that can make a difference for people’s lives every day.”

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He said part of this issue is understanding how quotas “can be so rigid that you can’t allow for the flexibility of the small things to get dealt with.”

READ MORE: A website lets you reserve a spot on walk-in clinic wait list for $5. But is it fair?

Walk-In Clinics of BC Association director Mike McLoughlin said he’ll meet with the government to talk about the quota issue soon.

“What they’re trying to do is avoid having to take a penalty basically they’re penalized after 50 patients, they only get paid 50 per cent and after 65 patients they don’t get anything after that,” he said.

“The government is concerned about the financial impact of that and so we want to be able to bring forward proposals that will answer that question and so we can provide people access at the same time we are not going to see a heavy financial impact.”

READ MORE: How do emergency room wait times differ in Alberta’s 3 major cities? 

In an emailed statement, the B.C. Ministry of Health said it will increase access to urgent care services and other flexible primary and community care options.

“Over the last five years the number of family physicians grew faster than B.C.’s population, but we also know that physician practice is changing,” the ministry said.

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“Many are working shorter hours, opting for work in walk-in clinics and emergency departments — all of this amounting to increasing challenges in access to primary care.

“British Columbians need better access to comprehensive health services when they need it, including care ‘after hours’ for non-life threatening illnesses or injuries.”

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