Sense of ur­gency

MLA fears physi­cian va­cancy may not be filled

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - THE PROVINCE - BY NANCY MACPHEE

There’s a sense of ur­gency as Paula Big­gar speaks about the im­por­tance of Tyne Val­ley res­i­dents with­out a fam­ily physi­cian reg­is­ter­ing with the prov­ince.

Big­gar fears if those in that po­si­tion don’t do so, the area could lose its chance of get­ting a se­cond fam­ily physi­cian.

“When it comes down to it, when we look at the num­bers for the area, it wouldn’t war­rant hav­ing an­other physi­cian in the po­si­tion,” said the Tyne Val­ley-Lin­klet­ter MLA.

“We have two al­lo­ca­tions, com­ple­ments for Tyne Val­ley, but to bring an­other doc­tor in you have to have the caseload.”

Cur­rently, the area has only one fam­ily physi­cian, Dr. Ihab Ab­del­malek, who op­er­ates out of the Tyne Val­ley Health Cen­tre.

Since the death al­most two years ago of Dr. Joyce Madi­gane, the area has been re­ly­ing on locums, a nurse prac­ti­tioner and Ab­del­malek to fill the void.

Madi­gane, who prac­tised medicine in Tyne Val­ley for nearly 40 years, died in Fe­bru­ary 2014, leav­ing hun­dreds of area res­i­dents with­out a doc­tor.

Shortly af­ter her death, Health P.E.I. be­gan com­pil­ing a list of or­phaned pa­tients.

Last week, Big­gar put a call out on so­cial me­dia en­cour­ag­ing area res­i­dents still with­out a doc­tor to sign up with the prov­ince’s Pa­tient Registry.

Pa­tients on the registry are as­signed in chrono­log­i­cal or­der so those who have been on the long­est are as­signed first.

“It is just a con­cern that we have a com­ple­ment of two doc­tors, we have a new med­i­cal clinic there that cost about $1 mil­lion, and it is a top-notch fa­cil­ity, we have Dr. Ab­del­malek there and we want to make sure he is sup­ported,” said Big­gar.

Re­cruit­ment is on­go­ing to fill the va­cancy and the po­si­tion is ad­ver­tised. Health P.E.I. has brought four to six physicians po­ten­tially in­ter­ested in the po­si­tion to Tyne Val­ley, but it still re­mains open.

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