Children’s Outpatient Clinic to cap number of walk-in patients

Hotel Dieu Hospital site. Photo by Phillip Stafford/Kingstonist.

On Thursday, Jun. 1, 2023, Kingston Health Sciences Centre (KHSC) will begin limiting the daily number of patients seen at the Children’s Outpatient Clinic (COPC) Urgent Care Centre located at the Hotel Dieu Hospital (HDH) site.

According to a release from KHSC, moving forward, the COPC will accept somewhere between 40 to 45 patients each day at the Urgent Care Centre, which is a walk-in service, in order to provide safe and effective care. Each day, the lead physician and nurse will determine how many patients COPC will be able to see, depending on the complexity of the conditions needing to be addressed. As a result, it is expected the COPC Urgent Care Centre will close earlier than usual several days per week, KHSC stated.

It is important to note that this patient capping only applies to walk-in visits to COPC’s Urgent Care Centre, the health care organization said. Appointments that are pre-booked with physicians, and other providers, who provide specialty care through the COPC clinics will continue as scheduled.

“At COPC, the Urgent Care Centre is staffed by one doctor at a time, alongside a team of nurses and other care providers. It’s common to see between 50 to 70 patients per shift with complex conditions that take longer to treat,” said Dr. Amy Acker, medical director at COPC. “Ideally this number would be closer to 40 patients to ensure we spend the appropriate amount of time with each patient and deliver high-quality care.”

COPC’s Urgent Care Centre will open each weekday morning at 9 a.m. and close when the maximum number of patients has been registered, or at the standard closing time of 4 p.m., whichever comes first, according to the release. COPC remains closed on weekends and holidays.

“The pediatricians who staff the COPC Urgent Care Centre are also providing 24/7 care in the pediatric inpatient unit and emergency department, provide consultation to our community and region, or overseeing specialty clinics,” said Dr. Acker. “There are simply not enough pediatricians in the area who are able to contribute to physician coverage at COPC, while maintaining all of the other clinical responsibilities at KHSC.”

Patients who arrive after the doors have closed will be encouraged to seek care elsewhere, such as a walk-in or virtual care clinic, or the regular Urgent Care Centre (also located at the HDH site) if they are open, KHSC stated. After hours, all individuals who have urgent medical concerns such as breathing difficulties, seizures, or severe pain can visit the Emergency Department at KHSC’s Kingston General Hospital site for care. 

To learn more about alternate options for care visit www.rightplacerightcare.ca

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