N.S. senior still desperate for doctor, despite meeting with health minister
Published Wednesday, April 26, 2017 6:51PM ADT
Last Updated Thursday, April 27, 2017 7:39AM ADT
A Nova Scotia senior who spoke out last week over his frustration with trying to find a family doctor for his ailing wife, says she still doesn’t have one.
He hopes, however, that a meeting with the province’s health minister helps make some headway, on a day when the province’s doctor shortage was on the mind of many Nova Scotians.
Reg Andrews, 71, showed up an hour-and-a-half early for his face-to-face meeting with Nova Scotia Health Minister Leo Glavine Wednesday morning.
"Because I’m going to do everything I can to get my wife a doctor," explains Andrews.
Andrews went public last week with his struggle to find a family physician for his wife Diane, who suffered a stroke just a week after her longtime doctor retired. Her health has been declining ever since.
The couple isn't alone in their struggles to find a family doctor. New numbers from the Nova Scotia health department say 27,700 people have now registered with the province to say they don't have a family doctor either.
"This is a dynamic, fluid situation," says Nancy MacCready-Williams, CEO of Doctors Nova Scotia.
Doctors Nova Scotia took centre stage Wednesday at the province’s public accounts committee meeting, with officials saying 1,000 new doctors are needed over the next 10 years.
"We just know that we've got an aging demographic in our physician population, and they need to retire, and we need to recruit behind them," said MacCready-Williams.
With speculation of a provincial election, leaders of Nova Scotia's opposition parties are positioned to make healthcare a major plank in the upcoming campaign.
"It shouldn't take a meeting with the health minister to get the basics of healthcare, including a family doctor," says Nova Scotia Progressive Conservative Leader Jamie Baillie.
"There is no issue that people identify with any more than the doctor shortage and the fact that they can't get a doctor in this family," says Nova Scotia NDP Leader Gary Burrill.
Diane MacDonald remains hospitalized at Halifax's QEII Hospital. Her husband says her overall condition hasn't changed much since she was admitted last week.
While Andrews didn't leave his meeting with a family doctor, he did receive a pledge from the health department to help him find one.
"They can send a doctor anytime they want, but if they don't send one before election day, I wouldn't want to be a Liberal on election day," says Andrews.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Bruce Frisko.