Digby doctors to take 500 new patients in Friday phone-in

Digby residents in need of a family doctor will get a chance to get one, for a limited time, on Friday with 500 people getting a physician

South West Health Authority to open phone lines Friday afternoon to sign up patients

The South West Health Authority will open their phone lines between three and six o’clock Friday afternoon to sign up new patients with two doctors. (CBC)

Digby residents in need of a family doctor will get a chance to get one, for a limited time, on Friday.

The South West Health Authority will open their phone lines between three and six o’clock Friday afternoon to sign up new patients with two doctors.

It took only 90 minutes for Dr. PejmanNourian to accept 100 new patients last January. He will take more tomorrow when the phone lines open.

Digby’s newest physician, Dr. HussamAbu-Seido will also be taking new patients Friday. He is the latest to be recruited to Digby and arrived two weeks ago.

Abu-Seidopractised as a family physician in the United Kingdom and worked as a consultant at Saad Specialist Hospital, Saudi Arabia before coming to Canada.

The health authority says they can only take a total of 500 new patients during Friday's phone-in and Digby residents will be the priority.

Digby has faced a doctor crisis after two physicians left in the last year and only one of the two remaining doctors works full time.

Shirley Watson-Poole is in charge of physician recruitment for the health authority.

"Quite frankly, there’s quite a few more patients than doctors can take, right now. We hope by the time we have the future recruits — of which we have five for Digby County, not all in the town — we hope by the time they come that all of our patients will have a family doctor,” she said.

Digby has been looking to international medical graduates to fill the void.

The town has helped doctors find houses and added on incentives like fishing and golf trips as well as financial incentives from the Nova Scotia Department of Health.

This will be Abu-Seido's first intake, but both physicians over the first year of practice will take on between 1000 and 1200 patients.

The SWNDHA says there are five more family doctors lined up to come to Digby County over the next 18 months and they estimate by then, everyone should have a nurse practitioner or doctor who can see them.