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‘Health care sucks in this province’: Hundreds wait for opportunity to see a doctor in Kingston, Ontario. |


Hundreds of people queued in the cold and rain outside a Kingston health clinic for hours Wednesday morning, desperate to find a doctor.

It was the second day this week that a line stretched for blocks outside the CDK Family Medicine and Walk-In Clinic on Sutherland Drive after the clinic announced that she would accept new patients.

Prospective patients who completed an online re-registration form were invited to come to the clinic to register starting Monday.

After seeing a line that stretched three blocks Monday afternoon, Dylan Beltrami decided to wait for a better chance to get in.

People waited in line for hours starting Tuesday evening before the clinic opened at 10 a.m. Wednesday.

Paul Soucy/World News

The 19-year-old was among the first in line Wednesday morning after arriving at the clinic at 7:45 p.m. Tuesday and spending the night camping.

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“I’ve had to wait since September to see someone for medical issues,” said Beltrami, who has been without a doctor since last year.

“Getting a family doctor can definitely speed things up because even the hospital said without a family doctor I was looking at two years to get it looked at. »

A persistent shortage of doctors in Kingston has left tens of thousands of people without a primary care provider.

The situation became even more dire when six doctors working in the city retired last May, adding more than 8,000 people to the waiting list.

Earlier this month, a post on CDK’s website indicated that four doctors at the clinic would begin accepting new patients in March.

After seeing an “overwhelming response” to its first “recruitment day” on Monday, a post on the CDK website Wednesday said the clinic would offer more recruiting opportunities over the next four months.

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The message also states that starting Wednesday, admission will be limited to the first 100 people in line at the door when the clinic opens.

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Jovi Watt said she wished the clinic had done a better job of letting those already in line know there would be a limit.

Watt, who joined the queue with her father at 3:30 a.m., would have been among the first 20 to enter, but was ultimately not counted because she had wandered off to use the restroom when staff handed out tickets for the first. 100 people in line just before the doors open at 10 a.m.

“A lot of people had been here for four to six hours – that’s a long time to wait,” she said, telling Global News she decided to continue waiting in the hopes that staff would let her enter with his father, who had a ticket.

Watt says she’s been “lucky” not to have a doctor for about a year, but with chronic health issues that have required her to go to the emergency room, she hopes to be able to find a doctor soon.

“Health care in this province sucks”

Dave Mortimer, who says he has been looking for a doctor for more than two years, placed the blame squarely on the provincial government while waiting in line Monday.

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“When it gets to the point where we have to queue for health care and a doctor, the state of health care in this province is dismal,” he said.

Global News reached out to the provincial government for an on-camera interview about the queues, specifically asking if there was a better way for clinics like CDK to register new patients.

A spokesperson for Health Minister Sylvia Jones instead emailed a statement highlighting previous provincial health announcements.

“Under the leadership of Premier Ford, our government is taking action, building on our progress in adding more than 10,400 new doctors since 2018,” Hannah Jensen’s statement read in part.

Meanwhile, Robyn Bronskill says she will continue to receive emergency care if “something really bad” happens while she remains without a doctor.

Robyn Bronskill, 71, and her husband have been without a doctor since 2020.

Paul Soucy/World News

The 71-year-old arrived at CDK shortly before 10 a.m. Wednesday, but turned around when she discovered only the first 100 people would enter.

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She hoped to find a doctor for her and her husband, who has been diagnosed with cancer since the couple lost their doctor in 2020.

“My husband wasn’t feeling well a few years ago, he didn’t have a doctor and he postponed the operation,” she said as she returned home.

“He eventually got cancer, but (he) probably would have gone sooner.”

CDK staff told Global News they were too busy Wednesday to comment and instead directed a reporter to the clinic’s website.

They advised patients to check the website for the most up-to-date information, including the expected date of upcoming registration days.

–With files from Paul Soucy and Fawwaz Muhammad-Yusuf

Click to play video: “Could Your Doctor Ditch You to Go to a Walk-In Clinic?  »

Could your doctor abandon you to go to a walk-in clinic?

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