Opinions

U of O Health Services at Marie-Curie. Photo: Parker Townes.

As the campus population grows, so will wait times

As cold-and-flu season descends upon our campus, the U of O’s walk-in clinic on Marie-Curie becomes busier and busier. Wait times are even more insufferable than usual, and patients in need of care often have to stand outside the room, craning their necks to hear their names being called.

Members of the public and students are both invited to use this walk-in clinic. There always seem to be sick toddlers in the waiting room, mixed inwith grumpy old people and overtired students. There’s an obvious need for another location.

It’s not just cold-and-flu season that produces such long wait times—ask any student prone to off-season sickness and they’ll be able to spin you tales about being triaged a few hours after arriving. Unfortunately, the Health Services team doesn’t make average wait times available, but they do list the current approximate wait time on their website, like some Disney ride line from hell.  

Not only are the wait times torture for the patients, but also for the health care providers. Think of all the frustration that gets taken out on nurses and doctors just trying to do their jobs.

Currently, the U of O has two clinics, the Marie-Curie walk-in clinic and the Rideau Clinic. The latter will only serve you if you’re registered with a health care provider. Additionally, walk-ins aren’t available during evenings or weekends at the Rideau Clinic, when more students tend to be out of class.

As the student population grows, so will wait times, and the resulting need for a secondary walk-in clinic on campus. There’s a plethora of walk-in clinics on Rideau, but who wants to venture out that far when they’re coughing up a lung? Having a secondary location that’s close and easily accessible would improve not only wait times, but quality of care.

A good secondary location could be in Montpetit or Minto Sports Complex (the current clinic boasts athletic therapists and physiotherapy), or maybe inside the University Centre itself. In 2015, the university announced future plans to demolish and reconstruct the University Centre —fitting a walk-in clinic into the floor plans wouldn’t go amiss. With the upcoming demolition of Brooks, a walk-in clinic could be planned for the first floor of a new residence.

Patients need shorter wait times, and a secondary walk-in location could fill that growing need.