Yarmouth County doctor still looking for patients

Seventy-eight people in south west Nova Scotia finally have a family doctor after winning the doctor lottery in Yarmouth County.

78 out of 100 spots filled

A doctor in south-west Nova Scotia is still accepting new patients, hours after the phone lines in the Yarmouth County doctor lottery closed.

Dr. Asif Sardar in Argyle was accepting another 100 patients. A spokesman for the South West District Health Authority said the phone lines were open for two hours and 78 people got through.

Fraser Mooney said Sardar started just before Christmas and accepted his first batch of patients in January.

Sardar is based in the Pubnico area, but some of the patients who got through are from Shelburne and Digby.

Last week 100 spots in Digby were filled within 90 minutes. Would-be patients who couldn’t get through called the system a "barbaric" way to secure health care.

Digby has recruited three more doctors who are expected to set up practices over the next year.

Mooney said he feels for people who are waiting for a doctor, but added that many of the new doctors practising in Nova Scotia come from other countries and find accepting 1,000 new patients at once overwhelming.

“Ultimately the frustrations of people calling in to try and get on a  patient list for a new doctor is going to continue until we have enough doctors” he said.

“We need to recruit more doctors and retain more doctors.”