DEBERT, N.S. -- The private company that runs a number of long-term homes says Nova Scotia's ongoing doctor shortage has forced it to restrict new admissions, and those who wind up in hospital might not be allowed to return unless they have their own doctor.

Some families say the situation is becoming critical and these are worrisome times for 82-year-old Harold Murray and his loved ones.

"We were assured there was a doctor here, and he gave up his family doctor," said Murray's daughter, Heather O'Brien.

His granddaughter, Darcy Dobson, says "he's important to me, and everybody in this building is important to somebody."

Shannex has informed families in a number of homes it can only admit new residents who already have a family doctor. Those who don't will be sent to hospital for any health problems, and they might not be re-admitted to the home afterwards.

In a statement, Shannex tells CTV News it regrets the situation, and is working to manage it as best it can while seeking short and long-term solutions.

Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil was in Dartmouth to celebrate the expansion of the Dartmouth General Tuesday. The premier pledged his health minister would look into the situation.

"I just heard about this this morning," McNeil said. "We're looking into it. Parts of that don't make sense, quite frankly, that if you leave one of our other facilities that you can't transfer back, so I don't know all the details."

In Debert, Murray's family would prefer more concrete assurances -- and so would he.

"Well, I worry about it if I go to the hospital, I'd have no place to come back to," Murray said. "That's not very good."

The government will likely face more questions about the issue, probably as early as Wednesday afternoon, when the health minister is scheduled to make an announcement on long-term care in Halifax at 1 p.m.