Family doctor wait list grows despite increase in GPs

The number of people in New Brunswick waiting for a family doctor continues to grow despite an increase in the number of GPs, figures show.

Lives at risk, says one patient

New Brunswick has gained 116 family doctors over the past five years, according to new figures from the Canadian Institute for Health Information. But more than 14,000 people in the province are still waiting for a family doctor and the list continues to grow.

Moncton resident Tracey Taylor has been on the wait list for nearly five years and said it's taking too long.

Taylor contends the wait is unacceptable and her life is at risk.

Last year, a visit to the emergency room for stomach pains turned into major bowel surgery and a hysterectomy.

"If I hadn't of gone when I did, I would have died," said Taylor. "If I had a family doctor that I could have went [to] for my regular check ups, it wouldn't have gone as far as it did."

"Actually one of the ER doctors said he was going to call a couple of doctors and that was a couple of months ago. About four months ago I had a mild heart attack due to stress. And he was just appalled that I had no family doctor. I've never been checked."

"But I still haven't heard anything, so I don't think he got anywhere either. According to the ER doctor, I'm pretty sick and I should have a family doctor, and they've tried to push, and it's just not right."

Moncton resident Gerald Robichaud has also been waiting nearly five years for a family doctor and worries no one is keeping track of his medical history.

"Who has my files? Is it after hours? The emergency room? I have no idea where my actual medical files are going."

The two provincial health districts, Horizon Health Network and Vitalité Health Network, maintain the wait list, but say it's a challenge to keep up to date.