‘Doc­tor short­age bad and get­ting worse’

The Glengarry News - - The Opinion Page - News

BY AN­GELA BROWN

Staff Stor­mont- Dun­das- South Glen­garry MPP Jim McDonell con­tends the prov­ince must do more to help the re­gion at­tract more health pro­fes­sion­als.

“We have one of the high­est per­cent­ages of peo­ple with no doc­tor,” says the Con­ser­va­tive MPP. “The gov­ern­ment needs to step up. The sit­u­a­tion is bad and it is go­ing to get worse.”

Mr. McDonell wants to make the Cham­plain Lo­cal Health In­te­gra­tion Net­work ( LHIN)’s in­com­ing chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Jean-Pierre Bois­clair more aware of lo­cal con­cerns.

“He has a tough job in front of him,” says Mr. McDonell, adding it will be a chal­lenge for the LHIN to meet the de­mands of the re­gion as a re­sult of what he per­ceives as gov­ern­ment short-sight­ed­ness in health­care fund­ing.

“There is a short­age of gov­ern­ment money for health­care,” he says.

Area health agen­cies have worked on a re­port that has been pre­sented to the LHIN.

Mr. McDonell ob­serves that be­cause of a short­age of doc­tors, many res­i­dents are on wait­ing lists to see a physi­cian, un­less they re­sort to vis­it­ing a hospi­tal emer­gency depart­ment.

Mr. McDonell adds about 12 doc­tors are ex­pected to re­tire over the next two years in the Corn­wall/SDG area. Many of them prac­tise at Corn­wall Com­mu­nity Hospi­tal.

“We’re look­ing at a sit­u­a­tion now where peo­ple can’t get doc­tors,” he says.

He also notes the num­ber of pro­fes­sion­als serv­ing the area this year has in­creased by 1.2 per cent but the de­mand for ser­vice is up by 2.5 per cent.

The MPP said some grad­u­ates re­turned to look for work in this area, but were turned away when clin­ics didn’t have ap­proval to hire any more staff.

“One clinic in town has more than 15 re­sumés,” says Mr. McDonell. “Two new res­i­dents are go­ing to grad­u­ate (as doc­tors) and will not be al­lowed to work in the area and will have to leave the prov­ince.”

The MPP re­lates that sev­eral res­i­dents have come to his of­fice ask­ing for help as they can­not find a fam­ily doc­tor ac­cept­ing new pa­tients. In­di­vid­u­als can wait up to a year to be as­signed a doc­tor. The Glen­garry Nurse Prac­ti­tioner- Led Clinic in Lan­caster has a wait­ing list for in­di­vid­u­als look­ing to see a health- care pro­fes­sional. How­ever, the clinic has pre­vi­ously in­di­cated peo­ple with an in­creased or ur­gent need for help of­ten can be seen on the same day. The lo­cal MPP says Se­away Val­ley Com­mu­nity Health Cen­tre also has a wait­ing list.

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