Nova Scotia

2,500 Sydney patients scrounge to replace family doctor

Hundreds of patients in Cape Breton are desperately searching for a family doctor now that their physician has announced her retirement.

Dr. Ranjit Parminder is retiring

Hundreds of patients in Sydney, N.S. are desperately searching for a family doctor now that their physician has announced she’s retiring.

Dr. Ranjit Parminder has put her office up for sale. When the building is sold, she said she will retire and close her office leaving nearly 2,500 patients without a family doctor.

Edna MacVicar, 81, has been one of Parminder’s patients for more than 40 years.

"I am on medication, my daughter is on medication and it’s a worry. Who’s going to prescribe medication for us," she said.

MacVicar said she’s not upset that her doctor is retiring but she feels the province needs to do a better job recruiting new doctors.

"Since the government is so concerned about health and being healthy and all, that they should certainly see that we should get some doctors here," she said.

Greg Boone, with the Cape Breton District Health Authority, said it takes time to replace doctors and that recruitment is ongoing.

"We’re always recruiting for a variety of positions, including those for family physicians and specialists across the district," he said.

MacVicar said she has called around to numerous doctors’ offices in the area and she was told they’re not taking new patients.

She said her only option for healthcare is a walk-in clinic or the emergency room.

"It's at the stage now where it's kind of critical," said MacVicar.

"I mean when you have say 1,000 patients only, that have no doctor, what are these clinics going to be like when you go to them? It will be like the outpatient department, you will be there for hours.".