Higher health fee aims to reduce wait times

‘There aren’t as many family physicians as

HCDS Director Mike Condra says a $10 fee increase will improve service.
HCDS Director Mike Condra says a $10 fee increase will improve service.
Journal File Photo

In today’s referendum, Health, Counselling and Disability Services (HCDS) is asking for a $10 increase in its annual student fee from $40.85 to $50.85.

HCDS is experiencing a physician shortage, like most health services in the province, Director Mike Condra said.

“In order to deal with that, about 18 months ago the University hired a consultant to work with us to make some changes that would help us cope more effectively,” he said. “There aren’t as many family physicians as there used to be.” Condra said the $10 increase will be used to increase the level of clinical service and reduce the wait time for students to see a physician, and increase HCDS’s budget for promoting healthy behaviour. Condra said the fee increase will also go towards hiring additional staff to maximize efficiency and streamline the flow of students who use HCDS.

“We would like to bring in a full-time medical director or a nurse practitioner who would be able to greatly increase the amount of urgent care clinics we can have,” he said. “We would have a full-time employee who would be able to do a lot of the clinical activity in the urgent care clinic.”

Condra said renovations first started with an investment of about $400,000 by the University to reconstruct the inside of the HCDS space.

“The University made this significant financial commitment over the summer to increase the amount of examining rooms and that is the result in increasing the rooms from nine to 17,” he said. “We organized ourselves to make an urgent care clinic so students could come in on a walk-in basis to see a physician.”

Condra said although the renovation helped, HCDS still has more to do.

“We have an urgent care clinic, but to get a booked appointment can take weeks,” he said. “We want to shorten down that time, increase our urgent care capacity and shorten the amount of waiting time.”

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