University unveils new $400,000 urgent-care clinic

Money used to renovate offices, add 10 examination rooms

Health, Counselling and Disability Services (HCDS) started the school year with a new $400,000 urgent-care clinic.

This summer, the interior of the HCDS building, located in the La Salle Building at 146 Stuart St., was renovated to revamp its examination rooms.

While the renovations, which began in the third week of May, took place, the HCDS ran under regular hours.

“We still saw students … we saw the same number as we would usually in the summer,” HCDS Director Dr. Mike Condra said

“The entire layout of the centre was changed,” said Dr. Hugh Langley, an HCDS part-time physician who was hired as a consultant on this project.

The old layout combined the office and examination room, meaning checkups took more time.

“The physical set-up inside the building did not make for the most effective kind of physician practice,” Condra said.

For example, if a student needed to change into a robe for an examination, the doctor would have had to leave the room until the student had finished. Now, with 10 more rooms, the examinations will run more efficiently.

In the old clinic, each physician worked out of one room at a time.

“Now they’ll be able to work out of two or three rooms at a time,” Langley said.

“It’s a better layout and I think a better flow of the way the students will go through the centre, coming and going.”

The new clinic has 19 examination rooms and two reception desks. There’s also a separate office room for physicians to perform administrative duties.

“It’s simply a new way of running part of the services for the students,” Langley said.

Since its opening on Sept. 4, the urgent-care clinic has seen an average of 60 students a day. Once all of the administrative details have been figured out, the clinic should be able to see up to 80 patients a day, Langley said.

HCDS has 10 registered physicians working part-time with the centre. The most any of them work is three days a week, but some only work twice a month. Four new physicians were hired for this academic year, but three have either reduced their hours or left the University.

“In total, we’re actually down a bit [in the number of physicians]…it’s actually quite low for the number of students at Queen’s,” Langley said.

Langley was hired by the Office of the Dean of Student Affairs to recruit new physicians for HCDS, also paid for through its internal budget.

HCDS has placed advertisements in the Canadian Family Physician Journal and Canadian Medical Association Journal to recruit new physicians.

Langley has also contacted physicians in Kingston’s surrounding areas, including Belleville and Westport.

“Over 100 physicians have been contacted to see if they’re interested in working at Queen’s or know of someone who is,” Langley said.

For now, the urgent-care clinic is being staffed with one physician, two nurses and one receptionist. Each registered physician is responsible for at least half a day of urgent-care work a week, Condra said.

“We feel that [this] is enough to handle one clinic,” Langley said.

If more students drop in, Langley said another physician would be added.

The renovations should also help with recruiting more physicians, Langley said.

“We think that with the new physical changes, some of the staff might want to work more hours,” he said.

Condra said renovations were done partly to increase the practice’s pace to give doctors more to do.

“We’re trying to provide them with the best possible working environment.”

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