City of Hamilton has third longest walk-in clinic in Ontario: Report

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The average wait to see a doctor at a walk-in clinic in Hamilton in 2023 was 68 minutes. Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

A new report from healthcare tech company Medimap indicates that the City of Hamilton has the third longest walk-in clinic wait times in Ontario.

Medimap’s “2024 Walk-in Clinic Wait Index” indicates that the average wait to see a doctor at a walk-in clinic in Hamilton in 2023 was 68 minutes.

The City of Toronto tops the list for Ontario-based cities with an average wait time of 72 minutes, while London ranks second at 69 minutes.

The index uses data collected from the majority of walk-in clinics across Canada, with approximately 70 per cent of clinics using Medimap to share their wait times.

Wait times are updated by walk-in clinic staff every 30 minutes on average.

Currently, Medimap only operates in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, and Nova Scotia.

The report states that the 68-minute average wait time for a Hamilton-based walk-in clinic is actually exactly on par with the national wait time average across Canada in 2023 (68 minutes).

The new national average represents a 31-minute increase compared to 2022 when wait time stood at 37 minutes.

The Ontario average is 59 minutes, which represents a 34-minute increase compared to 2022 when the wait time stood at 25 minutes.

The Ontario Medical Association (OMA) warned in January 2024 that Ontario is facing a family doctor shortage in every region of the province which “will continue to grow unless immediate action is taken.”

The organization noted that 2.3 million people in Ontario are already without a family doctor “and that number is expected to nearly double in only two years,” with doctors increasingly leaving their practices or retiring.

The OMA said that “underfunding in OHIP revenue, complicated with rising inflation pressures, have made family practice unsustainable.”

The fact that the province has an aging population and pressures from widespread population growth due to international immigration are generally agreed to be other aggravating factors increasing the burden on the healthcare system.

The OMA also noted that there are a considerable number of job openings for physicians across Ontario, with Toronto short 305 doctors, Ottawa short 171, and Hamilton short 114.

In terms of additional data presented in the Medimap report, the wait time situation in other provinces actually appears to be worse, with patients in British Columbia and Nova Scotia experiencing the longest average walk-in clinic wait times in Canada at 93 and 72 minutes respectively.

Ontario is actually the province with the second lowest wait time, at 59 minutes, with Manitoba the only province that ranks better, with an average wait of 45 minutes.

North Vancouver, British Columbia was reported as the city with the longest average wait time in Canada at 187 minutes (three hours and seven minutes).

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