A N.S. woman is seeking answers from the government about the province’s doctor shortage after she and her 10 relatives have been without a family doctor for more than a year.
Sharon Kehoe said she’s tired of waiting for a family doctor. She and her husband, two children, grandchildren and in-laws have been on a waiting list for a new doctor ever since their former physician moved to Newfoundland more than a year ago.
“We are all on the registry [provincial wait list] and no, we haven’t had any support,” she told CTV Atlantic on Wednesday.
Kehoe said some of her family members have pressing health concerns, such as her dying 84-year-old uncle who is in need of palliative care that her family has been struggling to provide themselves.
On Wednesday, Kehoe travelled to the Nova Scotia Legislature to find out what the government is doing to address the shortage.
“I’m looking for answers,” she said. “Somebody please tell me what’s the long-term plan?”
Kehoe shared her family’s predicament with her MLA, John Lohr, who said he’s been hearing that question more often lately.
“We really have seen an explosion in the number of people without a family doctor in the last four or five months,” Lohr said.
There are currently 44,158 people waiting for a family doctor, according to the province’s registry. In February alone, nearly 600 people were added to the growing list.
To attract more doctors, Health Minister Randy Delorey said the province is expanding its residency program, seeking more international physicians, and creating recruitment incentives.
“Whether it's one person in the family or a dozen, when you need the primary care, we understand,” Delorey said. “That's why that's a priority focus for us as a government.”
For Kehoe, the initiatives can’t come soon enough.
“Our medical system, as far as providing doctors, it’s broken,” she said.
With a report from CTV Atlantic’s Laura Brown