Saint-Bruno clinic closure leaves family in the lurch

Families in Saint-Bruno say they’re concerned about how they will access medical care after the local medical centre announced it would be closing.
The Saint Bruno medical centre is expected to shut down on Dec. 18. (Google Maps)

Families in Saint-Bruno say they’ve been left in the lurch after a local medical clinic announced it would be closing.

Mike McSorley and his wife have been going to the the Saint-Bruno medical centre for 33 years.

McSorley said he didn’t know the clinic was shutting down until he read about it in the newspaper.

“It’s been a very important the service has been very good ... It’s always been our first place to go for medical attention,” he told CBC’s Daybreak host Mike Finnerty.

Only one of the clinic doctors is remaining in Saint-Bruno and the other eight will be transferred to medical centres in Saint-Hubert and Saint-Basile.

McSorley said his doctor is staying in town, but his wife's doctor is moving to Saint-Hubert.

"It seems strange that when you're affecting 15,000 people in Saint-Bruno, that they can't get a couple of doctors in here to maintain our centre," he said. 

McSorley wasn’t the only resident surprised by the news.

Councillors step in

Michael O'Dowd, who has been a city councillor for eight years, said he didn’t know the clinic was closing until the local newspaper reported it.

“That clinic has been there for a long time. Most of us who grew up in Saint-Bruno have used that clinic at one time or another,” he said.

Saint-Bruno councillors Michael O'Dowd and Michèle Archambault joined CBC's Daybreak in studio. (CBC)

O'Dowd said he has contacted the Quebec health minister and made attempts to lobby the provincial government to step in. 

Opposition councillor Michèle Archambault is responsible for health services in the region.

She said the city’s doctor shortage reflects a province-wide trend.

“Doctors are going to more specialized areas and it’s getting hard to attract them to group family type of practices,” she said. 

'You have to pay the bills at the end of the month'

Doctors at the clinic said the decision wasn’t an easy one, but they had little choice.

Eliane Lemire, a family doctor at the Saint-Bruno clinic, said the clinic was struggling to recruit new doctors.

“We really love the patients and the place ... but the reality is you have to pay the bills at the end of the month and when [there are] not enough doctors to do so, it's just a fact of life,” Lemire said.

She said doctors from the Saint-Bruno clinic will be transferred to clinics in Saint-Basile and Saint-Hubert, where she said there is also a desperate need for doctors.

O'Dowd said he's not surprised the clinic was having problems attracting new doctors. 

"That clinic has been there for 30 years and no renovations have been done to that building ... Saint-Basile — it's a brand new facility. New doctors coming out of university, they want new facilities, they want to be with state-of-the-art equipment," O'Dowd said.

The clinic is set to close on Dec. 18.

For more on this story tune into CBC News Montreal tonight at 5:00 p.m or watch the show online here.


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