Sense of urgency
MLA fears physician vacancy may not be filled
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.