British Columbia

Demand for primary care in Victoria crashes clinic website, disappointing would-be patients

A large number of Victoria residents looking to become patients at a new primary care clinic were disappointed Monday when the clinic's website crashed, preventing them from applying. 

Clinic's website crashed after being flooded with applications from new patients

Patients who tried to enrol at Health Care on Yates will now have to wait until January after the clinic's website crashed Monday morning. (Kieran Oudshoorn/CBC)

A large number of Victoria residents looking to become patients at a new primary care clinic were disappointed Monday when the clinic's website crashed, preventing them from applying. 

Health Care on Yates opened in late September and is one of a handful of new clinics in the province staffed by nurse practitioners. The clinic has been slowly enrolling new patients in batches, taking applications online, in person and over the phone on the first Tuesday of every month.

"I was on the website at 8 a.m., and then at 8:01, everything went '503 Error-Service Unavailable,'" said Amber Marie Goss.

Goss has fibromyalgia, a chronic disorder that causes pain and fatigue. She's been looking for a primary health-care provider for three years and was excited at the potential of applying to the Yates clinic, but her hopes were quickly dashed.

"It crashed so quickly," she said. "Maybe they should get a ticketing company to do it for them because a clinic website isn't built for this kind of traffic."

The next intake day isn't until Jan. 5. Even then, there won't be a guarantee patients get accepted.

Vem Stevens is a non-binary transgender person and says finding health care that is safe and reliable is a challenge. (Submitted by Vem Stevens)

First-come, first-served doesn't work, says patient

Vem Stevens is another resident who was unable to apply because of the website crash. They are a non-binary transgender person and said finding health care that is safe is a challenge.

"It's definitely a danger for me to just walk into a walk-in clinic ... The way in which people treat non-binary people, it's very difficult to just go talk to a stranger about it," Stevens told CBC.

The new clinic at 1139 Yates is staffed by nurse practitioners and has been slowly enrolling new patients in batches on the first Tuesday of every month. (Kieran Oudshoorn/CBC)

Stevens said they're disappointed with the first-come, first-served application process at Health Care on Yates, and the clinic should consider screening applications based on need.

In a written statement, officials from the Ministry of Health said the clinic was not prepared for the large demand for its services and will be rethinking how it takes on new patients in the future.

In a post on its website, Health Care on Yates apologized for the crash and said it managed to enrol nearly 100 new patients who showed up in person.

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