Doctor says N.B. health-care system ‘sinking faster than the Titanic’

Click to play video: 'N.B. family doctor speaks out about health-care system issues'
N.B. family doctor speaks out about health-care system issues
WATCH: A family doctor in Moncton is sounding the alarm about issues plaguing the province’s health-care system. He says staff are burning out and the system is not sustainable the way it is. Suzanne Lapointe has more on the challenges and how patient care is being affected – Jun 29, 2022

Dr. Mark Waite, who practices family medicine in the Greater Moncton Area, said New Brunswick’s health-care system “is sinking faster than the Titanic” in a social media post on Tuesday.

Between his own clinic, two after-hours clinics and hospital rounds, he says he works well over 50 hours a week.

“I just wanted to vent my frustrations with what I’ve been seeing day after day. I mean, the problem has been building up for some time. When I started five years ago, there were issues that just continue to grow worse,” he said in an interview on Wednesday.

In his post, he called attention to long wait times patients are experiencing across the health-care sector, whether it be in the emergency room or the waiting list to be assigned a family doctor.

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He said his staff was feeling burnt out because of how often they have to turn away frustrated patients from his overcrowded practice, or from highly sought after appointments at walk-in clinics.

“And that list just keeps growing in the amount of people who are asking me if I’ll take them on. And I’d love to, but I mean, I just don’t want to burnout myself when it comes to the walk-in clinics,” he said.

Click to play video: 'Volunteers create online recruitment campaign to attract doctors to New Brunswick'
Volunteers create online recruitment campaign to attract doctors to New Brunswick

Dr. Brian Davidson, who also practices family medicine, recently had to close his after-hours clinic in Riverview, in part due to a lack of available doctors.

“There are lots of reasons why we can’t recruit physicians in the after hours clinic,” Davidson explained on Wednesday. “One is remuneration; another part is lifestyle – people don’t really want to work in the afterhours (clinics),” he said.

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Waite believes there just aren’t enough health-care workers to take care of the province’s growing population.

“The health-care system isn’t growing. We don’t have more doctors today than we’ve had a few years ago. We don’t have more nurses. In fact, we have less. The hospitals, the imaging equipment, the MRI machines. I mean, nothing has really changed,” he said on Wednesday.

He said he was seeing an impact on his patients’ health, particularly in regards to chronic illnesses and mental health.

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Unions say New Brunswick health-care system is worse than ever

Department of Health spokesperson Michelle Guénard told Global News on Wednesday that the province is looking for a dedicated physician recruiter after the position was recently vacated.

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She said various stakeholders, like representatives from medical and nursing committees, were participating in a day-long workshop with the Department on Wednesday to work on recruitment efforts, and that the province would “issue updates on new initiatives as they are finalized.”

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