Montreal

Medical clinic in Milton Park closes after more than 40 years of service

One of the busiest medical clinics in Montreal closed its doors for good on Friday, after more than 40 years of service and leaving behind 40,000 active files.

Clinique Médicale de la Cité closed on Friday due to problems recruiting doctors

Clinique Médicale de la Cité, located at the corner of Park Avenue and Léo Pariseau Street, had to close because it was unable to replace retiring doctors. (CBC)

One of the busiest medical clinics in Montreal closed its doors for good on Friday, after more than 40 years of service and leaving behind 40,000 active files.

Clinique Médicale de la Cité, located at the corner of Park Avenue and Léo Pariseau Street, had to close because it was unable to replace retiring doctors.

The clinic opened in 1976, and its closure leaves 12,000 patients without a family doctor.

Radio-Canada reports that five of the 10 family doctors working at la Cité retired, and that they can't operate without replacing them.

Dr. Mark Roper, head of the primary care division at the McGill University Health Centre, told CBC News that the provincial Health Ministry is not allocating enough permits for doctors to practise on the island of Montreal.

He said the allocation of those permits, called PREMs, is based on flawed data and favours the regions outside the city.

"With the restrictions imposed by the government on the recruitment [in downtown Montreal], it's not surprising to me that the clinic is closing," he said. "The restrictions are resulting in severe problems in primary care access."

Patients fear falling through the cracks

Bianca Grégoire, who worked as a nurse clinician at la Cité up until its closure, said that the Milton Park area is lacking in health services ever since the loss of the Royal Victoria and Hôtel-Dieu hospitals.

Those hospitals' services were moved to the MUHC's Glen site in Notre-Dame-de-Grâce.

"Patients have been telling me that they are very sad," she said. "They want to make sure that they don't fall between the cracks."

Jorge Guerra and his partner Tatiana Dvorianskaya live a short walk from the clinic and have both been going there for years. (Elias Abboud/CBC)

Jorge Guerra and his partner Tatiana Dvorianskaya live a short walk from the clinic and have both been going there for years.

Guerra, 68, said he liked the personalized care he received from his doctor, and how easy it was to get to the clinic.

"Everybody is sad because we lost this opportunity to have medical help close to us," he said.

In a statement, the Health Ministry said that the permits to practise "are aimed at equitably distributing the new medical workforce" throughout local service networks.

In 2018, according to the statement, a quarter of new PREMs went to the island of Montreal.

With files from Elias Abboud and Radio-Canada

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