Specialists' departure delayed

Nadya Bell
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Health Gyne-oncologists to stay until December

A delay in accessing patient records will keep the province's three gynecological oncologists working until Dec. 15.

According to a requirement by the College of Physicians and Surgeons, the specialist surgeons who treat women's reproductive cancers must give their patients three months' notice before they leave.

Those letters have not yet been sent out.

Cutoff date

A delay in accessing patient records will keep the province's three gynecological oncologists working until Dec. 15.

According to a requirement by the College of Physicians and Surgeons, the specialist surgeons who treat women's reproductive cancers must give their patients three months' notice before they leave.

Those letters have not yet been sent out.

Cutoff date

However, in a letter to Eastern Health, Dr. Patti Power, the division chief of gynecologic oncology, said they will not take any new patients as of Sept. 16.

While Eastern Health says it is making improvements and is hopeful the resignations will be withdrawn, the Newfoundland and Labrador Medical Association says there has not been adequate resolution of the problems that lead the specialists to resign.

"I'm very concerned about the situation, as I think most people are. It's going to be very, very difficult for the women in this province once those three physicians are gone," says association executive director Rob Ritter.

"Within the next week or so they're going to have to make alternative arrangements for patients," he says.

Hoping for changes

Emir Andrews, an ovarian cancer survivor and former patient, says she hopes changes will be made to keep the physicians in the province.

"I'm very mindful that there are women who need to be diagnosed and treated as quickly as possible. Any delay could make a difference in terms of whether or not they survive and that can be a matter of a short period of time," she says.

"It must be very worrying, and certainly for the ones that are still actively in treatment," Andrews says.

Deborah Collins, spokeswoman for Eastern Health, says the specialists are developing plans for the ongoing care of their current patients, but it is not clear whether or not there are plans in place for treating new patients.

Meanwhile, Ritter says there are no negotiations going on between the physicians and their employer.

"Three physicians tendered their resignation. They explained why they tendered their resignations, what all the deficiencies were, and I guess the only thing that would change their mind is if all of their problems were addressed. I guess that remains to be seen," Ritter says.

Collins says Eastern Health is working to address the specialists' concerns about more administrative and patient-care support.

As part of that commitment, Eastern Health has started advertising for the newly created position of general practitioner, gynecologic oncology.

"This particular recruitment initiative relates to a request from the three gynecological oncologists for additional support of patient care. The job description was written by the gynecological oncologists themselves," Collins says.

"It is still the hope of Eastern Health that the three physicians' resignations will be withdrawn, but if that does not happen, the creation of this new support position would hopefully also assist in the recruitment efforts of any new gynecological oncologists," Collins says.

But Ritter says the specialists still feel they cannot provide adequate care under the current circumstances.

"The new position is one step that certainly will be helpful, but I don't think it's an adequate response by Eastern Health to correct the situation," Ritter says.

nbell@thetelegram.com

Organizations: College of Physicians, Newfoundland and Labrador Medical Association

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Recent comments

  • carrie
    July 02, 2010 - 13:34

    As a cancer survivor, I am begging Premier Williams and all government and health care officials to please work together to ensure that we do not lose our gynecological oncologists. I am currently under the care of Dr. Patti Power, a caring, compassionate, extremely knowledgable and professional doctor and would be devastated if the government could not come up with a solution to keep these valued doctors in our health care system. What is truly needed is more doctors of their caliber to aid them, not replace them, in the treatment of cancer patients of this province. This should be given top priority. Speak out ladies and lend your voice to this plea. Thank You

  • Beverly
    July 02, 2010 - 13:23

    Where is our Health Minister these days? Has Danny muzzled him as well? Perhaps he did the right thing and resigned and Danny isnt ready to tell us yet. Then again when does Danny ever tell us anything unless it can make him look good? He seems more concearned about his stupid ABC campaign than he does our Health Care system. We are the laughing stock of Canada because of Williams and this ABC garbage. His greed and lust for power is only out done by his smug arrogance. Wake up people 80% popularity dosent necessarily make a good leader. If I recall Castro was even more popular than that. Now if only Wiseman and Williams could recall anything things may start looking better.

  • John
    July 02, 2010 - 13:20

    A reality check is needed. We have had 6 doctors resign so far. All are still here & all of them will remain here!! The Docs have old Dan on the run & they are going to take full advantage. Maybe Dan should have the Docs negotiate with Steve! Dan set the pattern when he gave the pathologists a big raise & a kiss on the hindquarters after they had screwed up in the ER/PR affair.

  • Concerned Patient
    July 02, 2010 - 13:17

    I'm not convinced that those working with these doctors realize the true implications to the women of this province. Making alternate arrangements for current paitients, and no clear strategy for dealing with new patients, the problem is growing as the date of resignation draws near.

    For anyone who has dealt with the scenerio of receiving and seeking treatment out of province, we realize that it is certainly not a easy as it is made to sound. Wait times are longer, financial consideration must be made and not to mention, any of the emotinal restraints that come with leaving home and family at such a critical time.

    I simply hope this to be tragedy is dissolved before it occurs.

  • shirley
    July 02, 2010 - 13:14

    please help keep these doctors. we need them so badly.government do what is needed now, don't wait until it is too late------please.
    a patient

  • carrie
    July 01, 2010 - 20:24

    As a cancer survivor, I am begging Premier Williams and all government and health care officials to please work together to ensure that we do not lose our gynecological oncologists. I am currently under the care of Dr. Patti Power, a caring, compassionate, extremely knowledgable and professional doctor and would be devastated if the government could not come up with a solution to keep these valued doctors in our health care system. What is truly needed is more doctors of their caliber to aid them, not replace them, in the treatment of cancer patients of this province. This should be given top priority. Speak out ladies and lend your voice to this plea. Thank You

  • Beverly
    July 01, 2010 - 20:08

    Where is our Health Minister these days? Has Danny muzzled him as well? Perhaps he did the right thing and resigned and Danny isnt ready to tell us yet. Then again when does Danny ever tell us anything unless it can make him look good? He seems more concearned about his stupid ABC campaign than he does our Health Care system. We are the laughing stock of Canada because of Williams and this ABC garbage. His greed and lust for power is only out done by his smug arrogance. Wake up people 80% popularity dosent necessarily make a good leader. If I recall Castro was even more popular than that. Now if only Wiseman and Williams could recall anything things may start looking better.

  • John
    July 01, 2010 - 20:03

    A reality check is needed. We have had 6 doctors resign so far. All are still here & all of them will remain here!! The Docs have old Dan on the run & they are going to take full advantage. Maybe Dan should have the Docs negotiate with Steve! Dan set the pattern when he gave the pathologists a big raise & a kiss on the hindquarters after they had screwed up in the ER/PR affair.

  • Concerned Patient
    July 01, 2010 - 19:58

    I'm not convinced that those working with these doctors realize the true implications to the women of this province. Making alternate arrangements for current paitients, and no clear strategy for dealing with new patients, the problem is growing as the date of resignation draws near.

    For anyone who has dealt with the scenerio of receiving and seeking treatment out of province, we realize that it is certainly not a easy as it is made to sound. Wait times are longer, financial consideration must be made and not to mention, any of the emotinal restraints that come with leaving home and family at such a critical time.

    I simply hope this to be tragedy is dissolved before it occurs.

  • shirley
    July 01, 2010 - 19:53

    please help keep these doctors. we need them so badly.government do what is needed now, don't wait until it is too late------please.
    a patient