Patients struggle to find medical care after N.S. doctor charged with trafficking
Published Tuesday, March 22, 2016 7:36PM ADT
A former patient of a Nova Scotia doctor charged with drug trafficking has been forced to look for health care elsewhere, which he says is easier said than done.
Len Riopelle received a letter from Crossroads Family Practice in Upper Tantallon, N.S., confirming he no longer has a family doctor.
Riopelle says the timing is bad, as he long list of medical issues.
“We have ongoing concerns, continuously,” he said.
Dr. Sarah Jones was charged with drug trafficking and suspended. Riopelle wants to make sure the severity of the situation is understood.
“I want the people in authority, health and wellness, or College of Physicians, to step up and say, ‘This is an extraordinary case,’ or at least atypical, and do something about it,” said Riopelle.
Both the Department of Health and Wellness and the Nova Scotia Health Authority say they understand it is a difficult time for patients and they provide resources to help patients find doctors, but say it's not their job to do it for them.
“Everyone involved in the greater health care system understands that there's now a pressure being placed on that part of the province,” said Dr. Gus Grant of the Nova Scotia College of Physicians and Surgeons.
Dr. Grant says it can't match patients with doctors either.
“I think it's ridiculous,” said Riopelle.
It’s unknown how many patients Dr. Jones had, but Dr. Grant says a typical family doctor sees from 1,500 to 2,500.
“The decision to suspend a physician from practice is never taken lightly,” said Dr. Grant.
Crossroads Family Practice declined to comment on the matter. In a letter to patients, the clinic says it will be happy to transfer medical records for the standard fees of $40 and up.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Kayla Hounsell.