2,100 Perth-area residents will be looking for family physicians by 2020

Click to play video: 'Over 2,000 Perth residents will be looking for a new doctor'
Over 2,000 Perth residents will be looking for a new doctor
More than 2,000 people will soon be looking for a family physician in the Perth region – Jul 2, 2019

By the start of 2020, about 2,100 people in Perth and its surrounding area will be looking for a new family physician.

One doctor, Manuela Joannou, is relocating, which means 1,200 patients will lose their doctor; another, Richard Moxon, is retiring, leaving 900 patients behind.

Perth resident Jonah Patterson says it was a long hunt for a new doctor when his family’s physician retired.

“It took a couple years for my family to find a family doctor,” he said.

READ MORE: ‘This is the face of the health-care crisis’ -- N.S. woman with cancer challenges premier on doctor shortage

Dr. Alan Drummond, who practices family and emergency medicine in Perth, says getting doctors to come to a smaller community isn’t easy.

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“Recruitment takes about a year to achieve and we figure to replace those two physicians, we probably need four new graduates and that’s going to take us some time,” he said.

Municipal leaders say they are well aware of the challenge facing their community.

Deputy Mayor Ed McPherson says the town has had a recruitment officer for the last several years, but adds that Perth and other communities need to band together.

“I think we need to work as a larger regional group,” he said.

READ MORE: Critical Needs, Part 1 -- Kingston’s family doctor shortage

Nevertheless, McPherson says the wheels are in motion to generate long-term solutions.

“Perhaps nurse practitioners, some other ideas, clinics maybe, to open up, but I’m not sure where we’re going to go with this,” he said.

Drummond says Perth also needs the support of the provincial government and flexibility from politicians.

“We’re very open to the suggestion of nurse practitioners, physician assistants, both in the office setting, in the community, in the emergency department and on the wards,” he said.

To make this, Drummond argues provincial bureaucracy needs to be simplified and less rigid.


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