P.E.I.'s wait list for a doctor could grow by thousands
Health PEI said Dr. Filza Naveed's patients will continue to receive care from the nurse practitioner, registered nurse and locum physicians until a permanent physician is put in place.
Leaving 1,360 patients
Dr. Naveed is leaving her practice at the Alberton Health Centrelater in March, leaving about 1,360 patients. Those patients were told by Health PEI not to sign up for the registry.
Dr. Andre Celliers is the chief of family and community medicine with Health PEI. He said it's better for Dr. Naveed's patients to stay at the practice.
"They still have access to a registered nurse, as well as a very capable nurse practitioner in that practice. With the locums giving us some added support, there's no reason to go back on the list."
Celliers said Health PEI has been recruiting a permanent physician since the news of Dr. Naveed leaving, as well as locum physicians who come from other parts of the country or region to fill-in temporarily.
Concerns about patient registry
James Aylward, the Progressive Conservative critic for health and wellness, said telling people not to join the registry is a way for the government to make the registry's numbers look more favourable.
"That's not the intent. The intent of the registry is to help people that do not have a family doctor or have no access to primary health care services," Celliers said. "When we have a practice like Dr. Naveed's, with having a nurse practitioner in place, it would make no sense of them leaving that practice and have no help at all."
Celliers said the patients are being cared for now, but once they go on the registry they won't have that.
"The intent is to give people care and the moment they leave that practice they have nobody looking after them. These people are part of collaborative practice, have a nurse practitioner plus a nurse looking after all of their stuff, with access to their medical records, so that's our main concern. It's not about [the] registry, it's not about anything else but to look after our patients first and foremost."
"They have access to someone that can look after all of their issues, so they are not being released back into the wild so to speak," he said. "They would be able to have access to the services that they need."
Recruiting a physician
Celliers said having a collaborative practice, with a nurse practitioner, registered nurse and LPN, not only allows patients to continue to receive care, it also makes it easier to recruit a physician.
"If you have a new doctor so to speak and they come into the practice, it's good to know there's someone in the practice that knows the patients, the nurse practitioner, the nurses know them well, and the patients are familiar with the set up of the practice as well so it makes it a little bit easier to get someone to come there."
"It's always better to recruit to a practice like that because it's easier to get people that will accept that."
Celliers said they are actively recruiting a physician and locums.
Health PEI has said they will wait six months before telling patients if there is a replacement or if they should go on the registry. Celliers said at this point they have no intention of having those patients back on the list.
He said they are also recruiting for a nurse practitioner for that practice, as the one currently there will be moving to a position with the new women's health centre in Summerside. She will be staying with the Alberton practice until there is a fill-in for her.
"When we get somebody to go to a new job, we want to make sure that anyone that is left behind is covered," he said.
"The intent is for the nurse practitioner to move to the women's wellness program as soon as possible but in the meanwhile to keep things stable and because she knows her patients we're going to keep her right there."
Celliers said Dr. Naveed's patients can check with the Alberton Health Centre for updates on locums and the new physician.
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