Health care sys­tem lack­ing vi­sion, says physi­cian

New Har­bour doc­tor weighs in on spe­cial­ist short­age at Car­bon­ear hospi­tal


A fam­ily physi­cians whose pa­tients have been af­fected by the loss of ob­stet­rics/gy­ne­col­ogy ser­vices at the Car­bon­ear Gen­eral Hospi­tal says it’s go­ing to take a lot more than one spe­cial­ist in Car­bon­ear to en­tice him to re­fer his pa­tients back to that hospi­tal again.

Dr. Paul Bon­is­teel has be e n ref e r r i n g h i s pa­tients to the cap­i­tal city since last year, when both spe­cial­ists who had been pro­vid­ing ob­stet­rics/gy­ne­col­ogy in Car­bon­ear quit, leav­ing the hospi- tal with­out those spe­cialty ser­vices. The gen­eral prac­ti­tioner, who op­er­ates his fam­ily prac­tice out of New Har­bour, Trin­ity Bay, was re­spond­ing to the lat­est word from East­ern Health that a spe­cial­ist has been recr u i ted, a n d is ex­pected to start work at the Car­bon­ear hospi­tal in early April.

In a wide- rang­ing in­ter­view with The Com­pass on Feb. 8, Dr. Bon­is­teel a lso talked about re­cruit­ment of spe­cial­ists gen­eral ly and the somet imes t a rdy ap­proach to fill­ing va­can­cies in the health care sys­tem.

Dr. Paul Bon­is­teel is a fam­ily physi­cian prac­tic­ing in New Har­bour, Trin­ity Bay.

“Time and time again, we have seen when they fill one (spe­cial­ist) po­si­tion, the ef­fort to fill the sec­ond seems to slack off. And that’s not just in ob­stet­rics, that’s across a slate of dif­fer­ent spe­cial­ties, and not just in Car­bon­ear, but in many of the (health care) in­sti­tu­tions across the prov­ince,” Dr. Bon­is­teel sug­gested.

He said he thinks, “a lot of that comes from not be­ing vi­sion­ary about the … ser­vices you’re pro­vid­ing. If you’re go­ing to be purely cus­to­dial and have no vi­sion, then the sta­tus quo is go­ing to pre­vail. And if the sta­tus quo isn’t good enough, then you’re not go­ing any­where be­cause no­body’s got a plan to think out­side the box.”

If it’s only go­ing to be one ob­ste­tri­cian, he sees that as “a prob­lem, be­cause one ob­ste­tri­cian/ gy­ne­col­o­gist is go­ing to have to han­dle all the calls.

“A con­cern I would have, and what we’ve seen seem­ingly hap­pen re­peat­edly, is once we get one per­son es­tab­lished, that spe­cial­ist could be there for a very long time wait­ing for some­one else to come along and share the work­load.”

Hop­ing that won’t be the case, East­ern Health is con­tin­u­ing its ef­forts to re­cruit spe­cial­ists to fill both paid po­si­tions in Car­bon­ear.

Hav­ing only one spe­cial­ist in place to carry the full work­load is a “recipe for burnout,” Dr. Bon­is­teel sug­gested, adding even two is “pretty bru­tal. Three is tol­er­a­ble. And if you have a re­ally good work­ing re­la­tion­ship with your col­leagues, it be­comes ex­tremely tol­er­a­ble.”

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