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8,000 patients will soon be without a family doctor as six doctors retire in Kingston, Ont.


In just a matter of weeks, thousands of people in Kingston, Ont. will not have a family doctor.

Six physicians from a downtown clinic are set to retire, and no replacements are set to take over. 

Inside the Frontenac Medical Associates office, the waiting room holds official letters from the office, listing the doctors who will no longer be practising as of May 27.

Patient Jenna Ayoub is one of those who will be affected. She says she was notified in a letter earlier this year that her physician, Dr. Nicholas Cristoveanu, would be one of those doctors.

"Upsetting," Ayoub says of the situation. "He is fantastic."

In all, six doctors are set to retire, leaving 8,000 patients without one.

Ayoub explains that she has been going to Dr. Cristoveanu for decades, and her husband and daughters use the clinic. 

Getting emotional during the interview with CTV Ottawa News, she says Dr. Cristoveanu deserves retirement and is a wonderful physician, but she is also concerned about joining the list of those who no longer have one. 

"Terrifying in the sense that I also have two children that it’s like, ‘Oh, what do I do with you now?’ 17 and 13, 'where do I take you if you suddenly get sick?’ I’ve never had to use the emergency room for anything other than a broken bone."

A study released in 2020, completed by Kingston Area Health Care Taskforce and the Kingston Community Health Centre, showed 29,000 people in the city don’t have a local doctor. 

Dr. Cristoveanu has been practising for more than 40 years. He says many of the other retiring doctors at the Frontenac Medical Clinic began their practice together.

They have been searching for replacements for at least five years, with no success. 

“Putting ads in the medical journals, talking to residents, doing recruiting services, looking overseas, to attract family doctors to eventually take over,” Dr. Cristoveanu says of the process. "But unfortunately, it reached a tipping point where we couldn’t find anybody."

The city’s $2 million program to recruit new doctors has resulted in nine new family physicians moving here, but those doctors have only been able to cover other retirements and not take on new patients.

It’s a province-wide problem, not enough family doctors are graduating to replace those retiring. 

"We’re very worried about what happens to our patients," Dr. Cristoveanu says. "That’s probably our biggest worry and why we delayed until we had to, in a way, to call it."

The clinic will have just two doctors by the end of May, so a wing of the office will close in the next few weeks.

Ayoub says her doctor deserves a peaceful retirement, but wonders about the future of healthcare for thousands of patients in Kingston.

"Everybody deserves a physician,” she says. Top Stories

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