Doctors still operating out of makeshift clinic after Perth-Andover flood
Published Friday, September 21, 2012 9:27PM ADT
Last Updated Friday, September 21, 2012 9:29PM ADT
Six months after flood waters devastated the New Brunswick village of Perth-Andover, medical services there are far from normal.
Nine doctors who used to work under one roof are now scattered and are being told they don’t qualify for the government’s disaster aid.
Dr. Carter Kennedy is one of the physicians who were forced to flee the medical clinic in the wake of the spring flooding.
“In the March floods, four-and-a-half feet of muddy, muddy water assaulted our clinic,” says Kennedy.
Six of the nine doctors have set up a temporary practice in a former community hall, but it’s a building better suited to hosting bingo games and wedding receptions, rather than medical checkups and vaccinations.
However, the makeshift clinic may become more permanent after doctors learned they don’t qualify for the province’s flood relief program.
Kennedy says they have been rejected on a technicality.
“That our building was destroyed to a large degree is crystal clear,” he says. “But because we were owned by six people that live in the community instead of two people that live in the community, we were negated by that claim.”
Kennedy says the rejection is based on criteria that protect the province from compensating large, multinational corporations.
“We are local people. We are not a multinational corporation,” he says. “We could easily have been in three or four different sites, which all would have been repaired at a greater expense than repairing one site.”
The flood-ravaged clinic is located next door to Perth-Andover’s hospital, and community residents say having doctors scattered all over is one of the many hardships they are being forced to deal with following the flood.
“It’s in three different places as I understand, and people have to travel a lot more than they would have,” says Perth-Andover resident Lenny Roach. “I think it’s inconvenient for everyone, including the doctors.”
“They have to do more travelling because the clinic is on the other side of the river, so…it is inconvenient,” says area resident Lucien Tremblay.
The doctors say their joint clinic is an effective way of delivering health care in a small community, and ironically, the province has encouraged them to maintain the model in the past.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Andy Campbell
A flood in March forced 500 of Perth-Andover's 1,780 residents out of their homes and resulted in about $25 million in damage.