amongst books

amongst books

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

RANT: Centretown Doctor Shortage

Since my doctor retired in December, 2010, I have been trying to get a new family doctor. I signed up with Ontario Health Care Connect, but after a few months of waiting, when I called my care connector, I was told that Centretown had a gap & my best bet was to ask my friends & keep an eye out for doctors taking patients. If I lived in Barrhaven or Bell's Corners I could get a doctor more easily because new clinics had recently opened up. If my health was poor or urgent, I had more of a chance of getting a doctor also. But thanks to some great urgent care when I was deathly ill in 2009, I am hale & hearty for which I am grateful.

I am not the only one who has had trouble getting a family doctor in Centretown. One friend and her family drive to Barrhaven for medical treatment. Another has bounced around from clinic to clinic.

Local community health care centres which support residents in my area are not accepting new patients. Their waiting lists aren't even open. I have been advised by one to try again in the autumn, & another to call back every month or so.

And it would seem that the problem is also nation-wide. Friends from Edmonton, Alberta & other Canadian cities have told me that they too don't have family doctors.

The answer then is to go to walk-in clinics. My experience with those has been horrendous, & they aren't really a good idea for regular checkups. One doctor at a local clinic suggested that the answer to my chronic sinus pain was not to blow my nose. Another didn't diagnose lung issues properly in 2005, leading to serious respirator ailments. Staff don't know your history well & it's a bit of a factory with quick solutions to get you out the door.

As a woman in my late 40s in particular, I am very concerned with not getting the regular checkups I require, such as pap smears & soon breast examinations. I made a joke that I guess the provincial government wants us all to end up in the Emergency Room, but the fact is, if they don't concentrate on preventative care, that's what will happen.

Is this also a problem for the local government? I believe it is. With more and more new housing being built in downtown Ottawa, you have to also provide services to the residents. We don't need another condo, we need more medical staff & clinics.

A friend gave me links to a rate the doctor site & another site where you can search for particular doctors. So the answer is to go thru the entire list & question each doctor's office. Try to investigate their professional reputations. This seems ridiculous & not effective.

We have a serious problem, Ottawa & Ontario & Canada. What are we going to do about it?

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