Hire more foot doctors to nix wait times, pleads surgeon
Some patients waiting for more than a decade for an appointment
One of only two surgeons specializing in foot and ankle surgeries in Nova Scotia is gunning to meet the minister of health, saying unless the province hires other specialists those already waiting a decade for an appointment will have to wait even longer.
Dr. Mark Glazebrook, who's about to become the province's only foot and ankle specialist, has more than 3,000 patients on his wait list.
"On a daily basis I'm seeing people that were referred to me as long ago as 2003. People are waiting an excess of 10 years to have a consultation to advance them to a surgery list if indeed they need surgery," he said.
"I can only see so many patients and work so many days so I try to maintain my sanity and I try to do as much work as I can but it's well beyond my control to correct this wait list. We need resources to correct this wait list and more surgeons."
He said foot and ankle surgery is at a crisis across the country.
Myra Bailey is one of his newest patients. She waited eight years to for an appointment about her sore left foot.
"I was stunned because I didn't think I'd ever get a call," she said.
Bailey said her foot has been hurting when she walks and sometimes when she goes up stairs. In 2005 Bailey's family doctor requested a specialist appointment.
"I don't mind waiting a while but I don't feel that I should have to wait unnecessarily in order to have treatment," she said. "That's the way our medical system seems to be. It just seems to be, like anybody would say, a lottery. Like you have to wait and wait and wait in order to get in to see a specialist. Your doctor's fine but your specialist you have to wait to see."
Bailey said she thinks eight years is too long to wait.
Glazebrook does too. He's crunched the numbers and suggests a solution.
"If we can get another surgeon hired here in Nova Scotia the wait list problem will be held at bay and if we can get two surgeons that wait list problem will eventually disappear over time," he said.
The health minister said he's keen to meet Glazebrook, but Dave Wilson said he is not yet ready to commit to hiring any new foot and ankle surgeons.