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Thousands of patients left with no family physician after 4 Campbellton doctors resign

The Restigouche area has lost 4 doctors in the past 6 month.
The Restigouche area has lost 4 doctors in the past 6 month. Global News File

The Restigouche area of New Brunswick has lost four doctors in the last six months, leaving thousands of patients without a family physician.

Vitalité Health Network spokesperson Thomas Lizotte says Dr. Sylvie Mbala-Katanda, Dr. Delbe Robichaud, Dr. Catherine Benoît and Dr. Jean Robert Ngola have all resigned.

Read more: Campbellton doctor accused in COVID-19 outbreak faces provincial charge, lawyer calls it ‘scapegoating’

Notably, Dr. Ngola was at the centre of controversy after the doctor was accused of setting off the coronavirus outbreak in Campbellton, N.B.

In May he was charged with a provincial offence under the provincial Emergency Measures Act. Thomas said that Ngola resigned stated “personal reasons.”

Ngola’s lawyer Joël Etienne claimed his client was subject to racism and unfair treatment by his employer and province.

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Read more: Nova Scotia doctor calls family doctor shortage a ‘crisis’

According to Vitalité, Dr. Benoît and Dr. Mbala-Katanda both resigned citing “personal reasons,” while Dr. Robichaud has retired.

In addition to their work as family doctors, all four also worked at the Campbellton hospital. Their departure has left 5,000 patients without a primary care doctor.

Lizotte says two ER doctors have agreed to take on some of the patients affected.

He says 21 physicians remain in the Restigouche area.

He also says Vitalité is working to recruit 15 potential doctors over the next few months to address the current shortage.

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