Dr. NORMAN SILVER of the Illness & Injury Clinic, located at Corydon & Harrow, with his wife, HEATHER SILVER (who is a receptionist at the clinic)

By REBECA KUROPATWA
The Minor Illness & Injury Clinic, started up by emergency room doctors Norman Silver, Gerald Brennan, Erik Smith, and Amin Kabani, aided by medical technology consultant, David Berkowits, is now up and running, with the goal of changing how urgent care is delivered in Winnipeg.

 

 

 

Just as patients do not enjoy waiting hours in E.R.s when their conditions are not full-blown emergencies, ER staff do not like seeing patients need to wait - yet their hands are tied by the current system.
So, Dr. Silver and the rest of the group have opened this new clinic, giving people another option.
“The whole concept came out from the fact that all the emergency doctors….it’s frustrating when we see there are 20 or 30 people in the waiting room, and we are caught up with something that’s an emergency,” said Silver. “I just had a shift on Saturday night, overnight, and some of the patients I was seeing at 6 am had been waiting 7 hours. That’s not right. It shouldn’t be like that.
“We saw an opportunity to help out patients that have been basically waiting and waiting in the emergency dept...I think we do a great job of taking care of the very urgent things. I think we do a good job of taking care of everything else as well. But, of course, the emergencies have to take priority.”

While cases that are actual emergencies, where patients are typically brought in by ambulance, should still be taken to the closest E.R., other urgent cases that cannot wait for your general practitioner can be attended to at the Minor Illness & Injury Clinic, where timely appointments can be set with an E.R. doctor without the E.R. wait time.
“If they felt comfortable waiting for an appointment, there is no reason why we can’t use appointment-based urgent care,” said Silver. “We wanted it to be patient-centered. Looking at it from the viewpoint of, ‘if I was going to a doctor, how would I like to be treated? ‘So, we tried to use technology to streamline things with online booking.
“All of our doctors are emergency trained. All the nurses there are also emergency trained and have worked in emergency departments. Actually, pretty much every person working at the clinic is still also working in city emergency departments. But, they are doing this as an add-on or as a second job, basically.
“If I run into someone I have seen at the clinic, their response is always great. They are just ecstatic, because they are not waiting. They know they would have had to go to the emergency dept otherwise, and they are just super happy.”

While the new clinic is appointment-based, these are same day appointments – sometimes within the hour if that is what users want and can make it into the clinic quickly.

Another unique feature at the clinic is its capacity to match you with the best doctor, according to your age and condition. “Most times, when you book your child, you’re seeing someone that’s specialized in pediatric emergency,” said Silver. “And, when you book an adult, you’re seeing someone who specializes in adult emergency.”
The clinic is also equipped with a major testing facility and staff capable of understanding the findings and implementing solutions on the spot. There is no longer the need to go to a different location to get an x-ray or to wait for a radiologist who can read the results. It is all done right on the spot. And, if a cast is needed, they can do that too.

“The same with E.K.G. availability, lab availability, suturing ability, and casting, because we all work in the system and have access to chartings from the emergency department,” said Silver. “So, if they had an x-ray at Victoria Hospital and come to our clinic, we can actually access those x-rays, because we all have access to the system.”

Due to the doctors’ connections within the system, they also have the ability to expedite tests and appointments not offered at the clinic. “If we need timely ultrasound, we have relationships with the ultrasoundographers in the system to get seen for an ultrasound – usually within a week. C.T. scans - same thing. If we feel they need one, we can get them seen much quicker than at a walk-in clinic.”
People are still encouraged to see their G.P.s if their situation is not urgent. “We’re not trying to take anyone from their own physician or pediatricians,” said Silver. “We want to work in tandem.”

Anyone with a valid Canadian provincial health card (excluding Quebec) can receive service at the clinic at no charge, just like at any other public health facility in the city.
The Minor Illness & Injury Clinic is located at Corydon and Harrow, in the same building as Eva’s Gelato. For more information and/to book an appointment, visit http://www.wpgminorillness.com/.