Dr. Louis Leblond is an orthopedic surgeon at the Moncton Hospital who specializes in hip trauma surgery and hip replacement.
He and his wife Dr. Erica Doucet, the province’s only pediatric ophthalmologist, say they they are both leaving the province, citing a lack of resources and support for her pediatric ophthalmology practice.
The couple released a statement to Global News on Friday afternoon stating the following:
“Dr. Doucet has confirmed she is leaving NB due to a lack of resources and support for pediatric ophthalmology. Dr. Leblond has confirmed that he will be taking a one year leave of absence that allows for the option of returning to New Brunsiwck should resources for his wife’s practice allow her to do so”
Dr. Doucet is shutting down her practice in November and is leaving the province.
The Horizon Health Network’s Senior Communications Advisor, Shannon MacLeod, said in an email that they “have secured a replacement to cover Dr. LeBlond’s leave.”
The MLA for Edmundston-Madawaska Center and the official opposition critic for Health also released a statement on Friday stating that he is extremely disappointed in the health minister’s inaction on the healthcare professional retention crisis.
“In order to stop our health care professionals from leaving the province, the Minister of Health needs to provide them with the tools, resources and support needed to deliver the best possible
health care services to New Brunswickers,” said Jean-Calude D’Amours.
“It’s time for the Minister of Health to become pro-active and act.”
He also added by saying that ophthalmologists who are not specialized in pediatrics care may take on some of Dr. Doucet’s patients. But that increased workload may cause the same problem.
“Families should not have to go to Quebec or Nova Scotia to receive services,” said D’Amours.
A spokesperson for New Brunswick’s Department of Health say there are currently 875 physician specialists working in the province.
“Human resources are one of the most significant challenges facing the New Brunswick health-care sector,” said Bruce Macfarlane, director of communications, in an e-mail.
“The province continues to face shortages within its healthcare system in regard to physicians (family/GPs and specialists), nurses, and allied health professionals. To address this issue, the Department of Health and RHAs are aggressively working to recruit physicians for various specialties across the province,” he added.