N.S. senior accuses government of failing to help sick wife find new doctor
Published Wednesday, April 19, 2017 7:42PM ADT
Nova Scotia senior Diane MacDonald has been struggling to find a family doctor since suffering a stroke last year, just one week after her long-time doctor retired.
Her husband of 35 years, Reg Andrews, says efforts have been fruitless and frustrating. Repeated calls to government departments have gotten him nowhere, but the province says help is on the way.
Andrews says his anger boiled over last month when he heard Premier Stephen McNeil and Health Minister Leo Glavine say 70 new doctors had been hired since 2015.
“I called the College of Physicians and Surgeons, I called the hospital, the authority, everybody,” says Andrews. “Nobody knows who these doctors are.”
"I think it's ridiculous. You had one for so long, and then they retire and you can't get another one,” says Diane MacDonald. “And when you're really sick, you need one.”
A spate of recent government announcements are also not sitting well with the couple.
“One day, they didn't have enough money to buy a piss pot,” says Andrews. “Two weeks later, they've got a great big piss pot full of millions of dollars that they're handing out."
At a collaborative care announcement in Spryfield Wednesday, the premier insisted the province's overall health strategy is working.
"So that Nova Scotians can have access to primary health care in the community that they live,” said McNeil.
After a briefing, McNeil also pledged help for Andrews.
"Obviously, he's in a very terrible situation there, so I'll certainly make some inquiries and see what I can find for him, definitely, yes." said McNeil.
"I’ve asked for a face-to-face meeting with the premier,” says Andrews. “I’ve got a chance of getting that like a snowball in hell."
Late Wednesday afternoon, Andrews said he received a call from the province promising a meeting with the health minister next Wednesday. Still, Andrews says he’s ‘cautiously optimistic.’
“But, like I told them, I’m going to the World Health Organization, I’m going to the federal government, I'm going to challenge them under the Constitution,” says Andrews. “I don't care if I have to go steal cars and sell them to get the money to fight them. I'm going to fight them."
As of March 6, 25,210 Nova Scotians were without a family doctor. The actual number may be higher, as that is only the amount of people that have registered by phone.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Bruce Frisko