February 5, 2019 9:24 am

Kingston couple sift through red tape in search of family doctor

Not an uncommon problem - but add to that, a family member who isn't in the greatest of health. That's the situation facing a senior Kingston couple and the red tape in finding a new primary health care provider.

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Kingston’s Griete Wemekamp, 67, and her husband Bernd Rummel, 72, are on the hunt for a new primary health-care provider.

“It’s really scary and this in a province, in a country — that prides itself on its medicare system. It’s clearly broken.”

On Friday, Jan. 25, the couple received a letter stating their family physician was leaving Meadowbrook Family Medicine in Kingston at the end of April.

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“A doctor, obviously a young doctor in particular, has the right to pursue their career, and to do different things — like the rest of us,” said Wemekamp. “However, I think there is a professional responsibility on the part of doctor and clinic in which they work, working together, to ensure that patients are not left holding the bag.”

READ MORE: Kingston needs to pin down concrete numbers on doctor shortage, says medical consultant

Rummel has several chronic medical conditions that require constant monitoring from a physician and they are bracing for a gap in care.

“There was no indication that there would be a transitional arrangement at the Meadowbrook clinic,” Wemekamp said. “Instead, we were told to go and find another doctor as soon as possible, and to also call this Health Care Connect line.”

Health Care Connect is a government agency meant to assist Ontario residents in finding a family doctor.

In order for Wemekamp and her husband to get onto the waitlist, though, the couple would first have to ‘de-register’ with their current doctor. To do that the couple were directed to call Service Ontario and confirmation on being de-registered could take up to 10 days and will arrive by mail.

“Now that I find very strange,” Wemekamp said. “It’s 2019. Ontario doesn’t have a computer system that allows input from one person to be seen by another person for 10 days? I don’t understand that part of it. In any case, we sit here waiting.”

READ MORE: Doctor at Kingston General hospital on what occurred during lockdown

A spokesperson for Meadowbrook Family Medicine told Global News they are in desperate search to find a new physician and said that the current payment model — fee for service — is not helping to attract and retain young doctors.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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