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Are you leaving, Dr. John?

April 14, 2013

A recent study conducted in Ontario revealed that patients who lose their family physician suffer feelings of loss and abandonment. It concluded that: “In a health care system appropriately built on primary health care, the lack of access to [family physicians] is regarded as the loss of a basic right to care.”

Upon reading this article, it dawned on me that I should publicly quash the rumours of my impending departure. No, I am not leaving. All this confusion started when another physician in our community announced the closing of his practice. Although he and I share the same tongue-twisting last name, we are not related.

When I tell my patients that I’m not leaving, the next question is usually: “So how long are you planning to stay, then?”

The honest answer is that I don’t know. Foreign medical graduates ( myself included ) have several obstacles that block the view of their distant futures. The decision to extend or cancel my work permit is not in my hands. In the past, it used to be  easier to get affordable housing in Lloydminster  than … a family doctor. That is changing. The impending influx of new doctors will close the gap between physician supply and demand.

Every day, when entrusted with the well-being of person and family, I reflect on the great privilege of the task. It is a duty that fills my life with meaning and purpose. I hope that I will be able to serve this community for as long as I possibly can. Having said that, I will need to take a break every now and then. It has been over six months since I last had a day off! In order to recharge, I will be going away briefly from the 3rd to the 13th of May.

To ensure an uninterrupted service to my patients, the following measures are in place:

1) Starting tomorrow (14/04/2013), the Border City Clinic will open a walk-in service that will cater to all patients after 16:00. This service will continue indefinitely.

2) The early morning ‘open access‘ system will continue to operate Monday to Friday for all of my existing patients.

3) I will instruct local pharmacies to extend chronic prescriptions until my return.

4) All hospital in-patients will be attended by my colleagues at the Border City Clinic.

Thank you for trusting me with the health of your loved ones.

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  1. kellee lacombe permalink

    Have a great holiday Doc! You sure deserve it.

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  1. Hold The Line: Health Care Isn’t Always On Time | Dr. John's Blog

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