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LETTER: N.L.'s general practitioners deserve better treatment


Elmsdale’s Dr. George Burden has a plant to bring doctors to rural Nova Scotia.
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My family doctor is retiring. I live in St. John’s.

One less family doctor, now, which adds work load and expense to the system, and, reduced accessibility and continuity of care for us patients.

My family doctor loves her work and does not want to retire. Her first choice was to find another doctor with whom to share the practice, and thus continue to work for several more years. When that could not be arranged, she sought a replacement to take over the practice entirely.

Unfortunately, that also was not possible.

Why?

The vast majority of new doctors choose to continue their studies, specialize, and make the big money, up to several times what is brought in by the family doctor.

The general practitioner working outside the hospitals of Eastern Health looks after everyone and their family, diagnoses and treats a whole spectrum of conditions and, I believe, is basically responsible for our standard of living when it comes to health and longevity in this province.

Yet the GP is poorly recognized and poorly remunerated for this responsibility. Meanwhile, they also strive to provide competitive wages and benefits to their office personnel.

The general practitioners and family doctors deserve greater respect from our health-care system as well as compensable remuneration for their knowledge and skills, not just in one specialty area, but covering all ages from birth to death, all systems physical and mental, all groupings from single to family, functional or not.

To keep the specialist here, we enhance their compensation. Why do we not care to keep the family doctor here also?

Some of us need specialists but we all need a family doctor.

Janny Van Houwelingen,
St. John’s


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