Advertisement

‘Physicians have left’: Lethbridge clinics struggling to meet patient demand

Click to play video: 'Lethbridge doctors struggling to meet patient demand' Lethbridge doctors struggling to meet patient demand
WATCH ABOVE: Finding a family doctor in Lethbridge is becoming an increasingly difficult challenge. As Erik Bay explains, the city’s medical clinics don’t have enough physicians to cover the number of new patients looking for care – Jun 14, 2021

The Campbell Clinic in Lethbridge is one of several in the Alberta city that isn’t accepting new patients.

In fact, the clinic doesn’t have enough doctors to cover its current patient list.

“We’ve had one physician retire in May and we’re trying to find spots for her patients within our group of doctors,” Campbell Clinic manager Tim Neufeld said.

Read more: Lethbridge doctor becomes 7th Alberta health-care worker to die from COVID-19

When asked about doctor availability in Lethbridge, Alberta Health Services directed Global News to the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta (CPSA) website, which currently lists eight doctors in the city accepting new patients.

Story continues below advertisement

But people trying to find a doctor from that list might be too late.

According to a CPSA spokesperson, that list is only updated once a year — in mid-January — unless a doctor makes the CPSA aware of any changes in their availability.

Click to play video: 'NDP accuse health minister of lying about how many doctors were planning to leave Alberta' NDP accuse health minister of lying about how many doctors were planning to leave Alberta
NDP accuse health minister of lying about how many doctors were planning to leave Alberta – Oct 1, 2020

Global News managed to contact the clinics for six of the doctors currently on the CPSA list and they all had the same answer: we cannot accept new patients at this time.

Read more: Two family doctors explain why they’re leaving Alberta: ‘Physicians are just feeling powerless’

Neufeld says the problem is many physicians have left Lethbridge.

“Over the last six to eight months, there’s been various physicians who have left the community,” Neufeld said.

Story continues below advertisement

“Some are retirements, some are for better opportunities within the province and some are outside the province.”

He adds the clinic’s doctors have been in contact with AHS about the backlog.

“There’s starting to be awareness of the issue and hopefully there’s more headway in the near future.”

Click to play video: 'Some Pincher Creek doctors say withdrawal of services still coming' Some Pincher Creek doctors say withdrawal of services still coming
Some Pincher Creek doctors say withdrawal of services still coming – Oct 1, 2020

Doctors may be in short supply, but the stream of patients seeking medical help isn’t slowing down.

“There’s a lot of desperate patients out there looking for a physician,” Neufeld said, “and unfortunately, we just can’t take any more at this time.”

Sponsored content