Having to visit a hospital’s emergency room could mean up to six hours in the waiting room. That is a lot of waiting in discomfort — and often, many of the patients that do end up going to the ER are the ones who cannot find an appointment with their primary health care practitioner or have to see a doctor outside of the family practice hours.
Fortunately, the residents of Brampton and Etobicoke now have a third option — the Urgent Care Centre at the William Osler health care facility at Peel Memorial.
Spearheaded by Dr. Naveed Mohammad — vice-president, medical affairs for the William Osler Health System — this patient-friendly facility will be open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day of the year.
“When we were opening a building at Brampton Civic Hospital, we knew that we would need another place for patients to seek care apart from the Brampton Civic emergency care,” says Mohammad. “That is when we worked with the Ministry of Health to open the Urgent Care Centre.”
Mohammad has been with William Osler since 1997, when he first joined as an emergency physician at Etobicoke General. He has since held a number of physician leadership roles, including becoming the chief of emergency services in 2006.
“The planning for the centre started in 2006,” says Mohammad. “The minister of health at that time, George Smitherman, helped us secure initial funding for the planning and committed that the ministry would fund the centre.
“It actually started even before we opened Brampton Civic. But planning and opening a hospital requires a lot of time, effort and teamwork. Typically, it takes anywhere between nine and 10 years.”
The centre will be open to residents of Brampton and Etobicoke starting Feb. 8. It boasts of a staff of expertly trained physicians and is equipped with high-tech diagnostics including an X-ray, CT and laboratories. It will be catering to the needs of patients with non-life threatening illnesses that would not require an immediate surgery or an overnight stay in the hospital.
So, who are the people who would actually be using the Urgent Care Centre facility?
“The very general tag line is that when it’s not an emergency, but it can’t wait,” says Mohammad. “The message, however, is that this centre is the place to come to for people with mild to moderate illnesses. There are things that a family doctor’s office does not do, like putting on a cast, a dressing; there might be a head injury that might require a CT scan or an X-ray; needing an asthma treatment; having a mild allergic reaction – all these mild to moderate cases are a perfect fit for the Urgent Care Centre.
“We are distributing information packages to community centres, to community groups, so people have somewhat of an idea as to how to use the new facility. We think it is going to take a little bit of time for everybody to understand the new type of service being offered in the community, but one of the things that we’ve noticed about the Etobicoke and Brampton community that we know already is that they are using their health care resources very, very wisely.”