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Five doctors are leaving their practices in and around Saint John in the next few months. (iStock)

Three more family doctors in the Saint John area have announced they are closing their practices in the next several months.

Dr. Allan Maloney will shut his doors in St. Stephen to retire at the end of this month.

Dr. Peta Brunsdon and Dr. Walter Smolinski have announced their Saint John practices will close at the end of February.

The news comes just weeks after two other city doctors announced they were retiring and closing their practices.

Brunsdon and Smolinski co-signed a letter thanking colleagues around the city this week and announcing the closing of their family medicine practices.

Close to 8,000 patients are already on a waiting list for a family doctor in the Saint John area.

"We don't have a lot of time to waste here," said Dr. Mary Jarratt, president of the Saint John Medical Society.

Too many people, especially senior citizens, are without doctors, she said.

"I mean that has the potential to devastate the health-care system," she said.

"Basically these are people with complex needs, many medications."

She says there are changes the Department of Health can make that will allow family doctors to take on more patients.

Among other things, Jarratt suggests allowing nurses in family practices to see some patients.

"We don't need a lot more bureaucracy. We don't need several different committees to study something for the next several years. We need some practical measures to put some things together," Jarratt said.

Last week, Heath Minister Madeleine Dubé announced the launch of a review of primary health care delivery in the province. 

But developing a new system could take several years.