Doctor shortage hits Sudbury area
Isolation and language barriers impede recruitment
A long-time medical practice in Rayside-Balfour is shutting down today because no doctor wants to work there.
Officials say it is hard to find doctors willing to work amid possible language problems and in relative isolation.
Nurse practitioner Michael Raymond has been trying without success to recruit a full-time doctor for the last 14 years.
Raymond operates community health centres in Markstay-Warren, St. Charles and Noelville — just outside of Sudbury.
But doctors in those communities often must work alone.
"They're working in isolation, they don't have a support group — no peer to discuss the cases with — so they feel that they're working quite by themselves," said Raymond.
City of Lakes Family Health Team is trying to recruit doctors to start a clinic in Chelmsford, a neighbourhood in Sudbury with a large Francophone population.
Executive director David Courtemanche says English-speaking doctors have told him they are worried about misunderstandings with Francophone patients.
"We've got a clinic in the Val Caron area and both the physicians in that site are bilingual… and I think really serves the physicians in that area well," he said.
Raymond says young doctors are still needed everywhere in Sudbury.
He hopes when the needs of the city's core are met that doctors will begin to migrate to the outskirts.
With files from CBC News' Steve Howard