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Doctor shortage looming over west-end Montreal clinic

Click to play video 'Doctor shortage hits Montreal’s West End' Doctor shortage hits Montreal’s West End
WATCH: Queen Elizabeth Health Complex will soon need more doctors, but the clinic says they aren't able to recruit new physicians. As Global's Felicia Parrillo reports, the problem is becoming an election issue.

There may be a crisis looming over this health clinic in the west end of Montreal.

Four doctors from the Queen Elizabeth Health Complex are set to retire by the end of the year, but only one new doctor can be recruited for the area.

“That’s probably another 3,000 patients in our region without a family doctor next year,” said Dr. Mark Roper, chief physician at the Queen Elizabeth Health Complex.

READ MORE: Long-term care patients in Quebec missing services due to lack of orderlies: union

The problem, Roper says, is the way the health-care system allocates doctors to regions.

The quota assigned to the Cavendish area is already maxed out. Roper says that’s because the system is flawed.

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“They calculate, for example, the number of doctors working at the MUHC in emergency. There are 20 doctors working there in emergency,” said Roper. “They, for some reason, calculate that as serving the local population and of course, that’s not true.”

Medical malpractice lawyer, Patrick Martin-Ménard, agrees. He says the provincial health-care system needs a major overhaul.

“This way of proceeding, of essentially depriving a patient of his rights to health care and to a doctor for administrative reasons — this is completely inconsistent with the law,” he said.

READ MORE: Families and seniors top priorities as political parties unveil campaign promises on Day 2

As of June 30, according to the health ministry, 79.7 per cent of Quebecers currently have a family doctor.

That number drops in Montreal, where only 66.5 per cent have one.

Meanwhile, almost half-a-million Quebecers are registered and still waiting.

“We are on the way,” said Quebec Premier Phillippe Couillard. “Look, a thing I’m very proud of is that we have over 1.1-million people that now have a family doctor, who didn’t in 2014 — we need to be better than that.”

READ MORE: CAQ leader announces ‘party’s most important healthcare commitment’

The CAQ argues the Liberal’s plan has failed.

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“We don’t have enough in the West Island. We don’t have enough here in Lanaudière. So I think that right now, our government wasn’t able to have enough courage to give a GP to each Quebecer,” said CAQ Leader François Legault.