Doctors call for reforms as people in Sask. struggle to find a family doctor


There are presently no physician’s clinics in Saskatoon accepting new sufferers, in response to the database on the Saskatchewan Well being Authority web site — a part of a major well being care disaster that one physician says has been looming for years.

“Sorry for the inconvenience,” reads the well being authority’s web site below the heading “clinics accepting normal sufferers.”

Dr. Adam Ogieglo says the scenario has by no means been this unhealthy in Saskatoon.

“It is at all times been slim pickings, however after I began 10 years in the past as a household doctor, you’ll discover there could be a full web page of docs that have been taking sufferers,” stated Ogieglo, a household doctor and associate at Lakeside Medical Clinic in Saskatoon.

“I’ve by no means seen the lists have zero docs and 0 clinics taking sufferers earlier than.”

Ogieglo stated that is regarding as a result of household physicians play a vital function within the health-care system. 

“Those that have a household doctor stay longer than individuals that do not,” he stated, including that stage of medical care can scale back the time individuals spend in hospital, downstream prices and backlogs at different varieties of care clinics. 

Ogieglo stated whereas the issue has worsened in Saskatoon, it is a difficulty throughout Canada.

Unable to seek out care 

The shortcoming to entry major well being care is regarding and irritating, stated Stevie, a 27-year-old who lives in Regina. CBC has agreed to not use the final title of Stevie, who makes use of the pronouns they and them.

They’ve had the identical household physician their whole life. That physician has handled Stevie’s dad and mom and prolonged household, however he is retiring quickly.

Stevie stated when their physician first talked about retirement, he stated a brand new physician would ideally take over the apply. 

“However that is not occurring as a result of there is not any one to take over the apply,” they stated. “It undoubtedly makes me anxious.” 

Stevie stated they’re desirous to discover a new physician as a result of they’ve a two-month-old son. Thus far, they’ve had no luck. 

“Once I regarded on-line on the listing of accessible practitioners in Regina, it was a very small listing,” they stated, including docs on the listing really weren’t accepting new sufferers and a few who have been had questionable observe data. 

“One physician that I researched had a number of complaints towards them, in order that made me a bit bit nervous.” 

Requires reform 

Ogieglo stated the first health-care system wants reform. The way in which household physicians are paid is problematic, he stated.

“We’re paid below a fee-for-service mannequin, which scares away loads of graduates from beginning practices. They do not essentially wish to run a enterprise,” stated Ogieglo.

“They’re involved about producing sufficient earnings,” he stated, whereas “in the event that they bought a job on the hospital … they’ve a assured hourly earnings.” 

Dr. Brady Bouchard agrees that the prevailing mannequin places an excessive amount of strain on household docs, who need to cope with overhead prices, administrative work, hire, utilities, insurance coverage and workers and provide administration — on prime of caring for sufferers.

Bouchard, a physician in North Battleford and president of the School of Household Physicians of Canada, steered revamping the clinic construction may very well be an answer, on prime of fee and administration adjustments. That is as a result of even when the funds are modified, there’ll nonetheless be too few household physicians to handle rising calls for, he stated.

A team-based method in a big clinic setting might assist meet the wants of sufferers. The clinic may very well be run by physicians, however they may work alongside pharmacists, nurses and different health-care suppliers, he stated. 

Ripple impact

Each Bouchard and Ogieglo stated with out entry to household docs, individuals are looking for care at emergency rooms, walk-in clinics and pressing care centres.

When Stevie’s son was about 20 days outdated, they needed to take him to a walk-in clinic. They arrived earlier than the clinic opened and joined a lineup of individuals already ready outdoors. Individuals saved coming, stated Stevie.

“It was actually overwhelming. It was a weekend, there was one physician working, one individual working the entrance desk, and there was an enormous lineup out the door,” they stated.

“I actually really feel for the physician that was working that day, as a result of how do you even deal with that many individuals?”

The shortcoming to discover a household physician has brought about stress for sufferers, docs and the system. (funnyangel/Shutterstock)

Ogieglo stated his pressing care clinic used to see 4,000 sufferers each month. Since January, it is seen 5,000 each month. He stated it is no longer unusual for individuals to attend hours for care.

Dr.James Stempien, the provincial head of emergency medication, stated the lack of ability to get household physician care in Saskatchewan can also be affecting the emergency room — a spot not designed for followup or ongoing care. 

He stated ideally, a household doctor would comply with up with sufferers after they go away emergency for added X-rays, exams or consultations. He stated many individuals displaying up in ERs haven’t got a household physician, in order that’s not attainable. 

Stempien stated there was a listing of docs taking new sufferers however that does not exist anymore. 

Ogieglo stated individuals deserve entry to well timed and persevering with care. 

“There must be co-operation amongst numerous ranges of presidency to seek out options with [doctors] on the desk to seek out options to this drawback.”


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