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Frustration mounts as Canadians without primary care doctors continue to wait


Six million Canadians do not have a family doctor according to new research, and many have been waiting more than a year to get one.

“It’s disgusting; this shouldn’t happen,” says Kingston resident Elizabeth Suurd. “Everyone should be entitled to a health care practitioner of their own.”

Suurd has been looking for a doctor since moving from Calgary to Kingston almost two years ago, and frustration is growing.

“I have underlying health conditions and these conditions could worsen in the next five to ten years, and with the worsening I need to know I’ll have constant care from a doctor,” she says.

On waiting lists and making phone calls, Suurd has been told it could be up to a five-year wait.

“From Durham, to Ottawa, down to Kingston, probably to Cornwall, it’s impossible right now to find a family doctor.”

She is not alone in her search; six million Canadians are without a family doctor, according to new research by Angus Reid.

One-third of them have been looking for more than a year, and those who do not have a family doctor have worsening health compared to those who do.

“It feels scary and it feels like we don’t have anybody to watch out for us,” says Corissa Levair, who has been waiting for a doctor for three years.

A retired nurse, she says these wait times should raise alarm bells because primary care physicians are pivotal to people’s health.

“I do believe that our health-care system is going to be in greater trouble because the six million of us just aren’t being watched,” she says. “We’re not being seen.”

In Kingston, nine new doctors have been recruited by the city.

That replaces seven who left during the pandemic, and prevents 7,000 patients from losing a physician. Nevertheless, tens of thousands of people in this city are still searching.

Suurd says that while nine new doctors is progress, at this point, all levels of government need to step in with solutions so that all residents can receive health care.

“We need it,” she says. “We need health care more than ever.” Top Stories

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