New Brunswick

Doctors quit Fredericton sexual health clinic

Three doctors have quit their duties at a sexual health clinic in Fredericton because of the province's decision to reduce services.

Three doctors have quit their duties at a sexual health clinic in Fredericton to protest the province's decision to reduce services.

The doctors are upset the province will no longer allow people from the ages of 20 to 24 to use the clinics.

The Fredericton Sexual Health Clinic will also see its hours reduced from six to two hours per week.

Dr. Tanya Wood, one of the three doctors who resigned, said the reductions will lead to more illnesses.

"Unfortunately, I do predict that there will be an increase in the rate of sexually transmitted infections, unplanned pregnancies, cervical cancer and the like as a result of the loss of the service," said Wood.

The province said when the change was announced earlier this year that it wanted to focus the clinics on people aged 19-years-old and under. It also said public health nurses were being re-directed to better tackle the rise of sexually transmitted diseases

"We were very disappointed because we love the work that we do," said Wood. "We believe that it's an important service to provide for the young people of New Brunswick and we were very concerned about what would happen to them after this."

People who came in for diagnosis of sexually transmitted diseases, pap tests and birth control.

Wood said close to 300 files at the clinic are affected.

Dr. Eilish Cleary, the province's chief medical officer, said although she's empathetic, the government's 16 public health nurses shouldn't be providing primary care.

She said that's not the best way to use them to tackle the increase in sexually transmitted diseases.

"It's important that public health resources are focused on preventing and containing the spread of sexually transmitted infection and that can't be done by sitting in the clinic," said Cleary.

Wood said clinical services, treatment and counseling must be used in conjunction with prevention and education.