Sydney medical clinic for 'unattached patients' is full
Clinic opened in September for people losing family doctors
A clinic that opened in Sydney in September for people whose family doctors were retiring or leaving the area has reached patient capacity and can't accept any more, says the Nova Scotia Health Authority.
The so-called "unattached patient" or "orphan" clinic is staffed by doctors who also have a family practice or who cover shifts in emergency departments, and are not always available for clinic work.
The medical director at the Cape Breton Regional Hospital, Dr. Dale Miller, says the clinic has accepted 1,000 patients since opening, while the number of doctors working there has dropped from a high of nine to just four.
"We are continuing to recruit physicians to work in the clinic," he said. "But the reality is that we have to have interest from them to do it, in order for them to work there. And they have to be available to work there."
Miller says six more doctors are coming to the area this summer.
"Coming up in July, we will be having new physicans joining the group as residents graduate," he said. "Hopefully we can tie in with some of them as they are early in their careers, and possibly still building practices, and they may be able to help out as well."
The health authority says follow-up is being arranged for patients who have already been seen at the clinic.
Patients without doctors can go to the Sydney Walk-in Clinic in the HealthPark building next to the regional hospital, or to the nearest ER.
With files from Yvonne LeBlanc-Smith