Sydney loses another family doctor while recruiting efforts intensify
Another family doctor in Cape Breton has abruptly closed her practice and hasn't given her patients any reason why.
A community group has now taken it upon themselves to try and recruit much-needed physicians to the area.
Friday, it was business as usual at the Glace Bay General, but this weekend will see the emergency department closed for several hours because of doctor shortages.
A group in the community is soon hoping to change that.
“In the Glace Bay Area, many people call it ground zero in terms of the lack of doctors,” said Mike Kelloway, the chair of Bay It Forward.
Kelloway and his group, along with established doctors in the area, welcomed potential physicians to the community Thursday.
They were showcasing what the area has to offer and hoping the doctors will eventually set up a family practice here.
“We believe that it always should be the community leading the charge in recruitment,” Kelloway said. “We live here, we understand the culture, we understand the pulse, the heartbeat of our area.”
The provincial government recently announced the closure of two community hospitals in the municipality and has made no secret of the challenges they face when it comes to bringing doctors to the province.
Part of the recruiting process included a deep immersion into the community’s culture, which included heading out into the water on a fishing boat.
“Actually it was pretty neat because there was a couple of lobster traps we pulled up and there was some lobsters in it, so they got to experience that,” said Bay It Forward group member Dave MacKeigan. “We threw the lobsters back in the ocean of course, it's out of season.”
Dr. Rachel Abel recently announced her practice was closing by taking out an ad in the local newspaper.
Her patients were told to call 811 to be put on a waitlist for a new physician.
“From a community standpoint, it’s absolutely paramount that we are engaged and involved in recruitment,” said Kelloway.
It’s a process this group hopes will benefit their community, and a situation the province continues to struggle with.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Kyle Moore.