Last month in the OSCAR and on line we asked OOS residents whether they are concerned about not having a doctor in the neighbourhood.
Our anecdotal experiences were substantiated by about 30 individuals and families who responded with their stories. As suspected, doctors retire and new doctors locate in the suburbs.
Here are some of the stories:
“We are a family of four in OOS who have not had a “family doctor” for three years, since ours retired. The result is that we are forced to use walk-in clinics like Appletree at Bank/Heron, where there is no continuity or relationship. Another impact is that we put off going to the doctor. That’s OK for minor things where we may not have really needed to see one, but there is also a risk that we will one day ignore something that should have been attended to early."
“Our doctor of 30 years is retiring without replacement and I really don't know how I and my husband will manage, especially now that we are senior citizens.” This respondent went on to suggest that doctors could be encouraged to open up their practices in homes in the neighbourhood, as that appears to be allowed in the new City Plan. Shades of the past!
“I will be 80 later this year and it would be really helpful to have medical services available closer to home – at least clinic or nurse practitioner services.”
“I am very concerned about the loss of GPs, having lost mine during the pandemic as his practice was closed when his partners retired and could find no replacements...... I am capable of searching the system for another physician but all my efforts have been unsuccessful.”
These are just samples of the stories we are collecting. Many others responded who said that, while they were ok for now, they knew of many others who didn’t have a GP, many of whom are not using the internet to respond.
In summary, there are many people in OOS who haven’t got a GP, who will soon not have a GP and who are not willing or able to to travel a distance for health care. As people age, their health care needs to be integrated with other care in their homes and in their community. The health care system does not account for the needs of the community.
Again this month, we are asking, if you or someone you know is concerned about health care now or in the future, please respond by email. You can say as much or little as you like about your concerns. Just having a response will be of value to our efforts. As well, those of you who are well served but see the impending risk, we would welcome your help.
SWOOS2018@gmail.com. Indicate in the subject line “OOS Health Care”
OSCA/SWOOS Housing/Health Group (Anna Cuylits, Terrance Hunsley, Carolyn Inch, Michael Wilson)