July 21, 2024
Jamie Corbett was still nearly 200 spots away from reaching the clinic entrance on Monday afternoon.

Hundreds line up outside Kingston clinic in desperate bid for family doctor

Hundreds of people desperate to find a family physician lined up overnight outside a Kingston, Ont., medical clinic this week, in what many are calling a clear sign of the serious doctor shortage in the region.

On Feb. 22, the CDK Family Medicine and Walk-In Clinic announced four physicians would start taking on as many as 4,000 new patients at the clinic. Some 30,000 residents are currently without a family doctor in Kingston.

During “rostering” days held last week, prospective patients were asked to line up outside the clinic to be seen on a first-come, first-served basis. On Wednesday, the line was cut off after the first 100 people.

Kate Alldred’s husband arrived at 5:30 a.m. Wednesday and was 95th in line, but didn’t get his turn until 3 p.m.

“He decided he was OK with waiting for 10 hours in the rain because it was going to save him all of the future waiting times that we would have as a family at walk-in clinics, in urgent care, wherever we need to go to get care for ourselves and our family,” Alldred said.

The Alldreds moved to Kingston in 2020 and have been on the province’s Health Care Connect waitlist for a family physician ever since. Their youngest daughter, now 4, hasn’t seen a doctor since she was six months old.

“We’re not supposed to be seeking urgent care or emergency care for these day-to-day things, but we need to be managed by primary-care physicians,” Alldred said.

Some gave up waiting

Jamie Corbett has been on the same provincial waitlist since his previous family doctor retired in 2020.

He waited in line outside the clinic on Monday, but returned home after a couple hours as nearly 200 people stood ahead of him.

“[A clinic staff member] said they will be announcing more rostering days, but I don’t know if I’m prepared to sit there overnight,” Corbett said. “Who knows what it’s going to be like next time? It’s a frustrating situation.”

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