Patients left in lurch after Orleans doctors plan to close practices
Patients of an east Ottawa clinic say they've been left in the lurch after learning they would need to find new family doctors because their doctors were closing their medical practices.
"It was a shock to me," said Diane Godard, whose doctor was one of three at the Orléans Family Health Clinic on Centrum Boulevard who signed the letter sent to patients on Dec. 29, 2022.
The letter stated their practices would be closed as of April 6 and no other physicians there would be able to take them on, as their waitlists were full.
"Frustration, anger and I thought, 'How could they treat people like that?'" Godard said of her reaction. "First, I was angry at the doctor but then with these three weeks of not being able to get through to the clinic."
Godard has had breast cancer, blood pressure issues and COPD. She needs prescription renewals as she begins the daunting task of finding a doctor but says she hasn't been able to get through to the clinic to make an appointment.
"I know it's going to be a long time to get a doctor," she said. "I need my renewals for one year."
CTV News reached out to the clinic for comment and has not heard back.
Numbers in a memo provided to the Board of Health earlier this month show up to 150,000 people in the Ottawa area do not have access to a regular primary care doctors.
"People are desperate and that's hard," said Martine Whissel, the executive director of the Eastern Ottawa Community Family Health Team. "And we have physicians that would like to take on more but they're full they don't have more time to give."
Whissel said recruiting bilingual physicians is key but so is collaboration. She says there is talk of bringing a community health centre east of the Ottawa River.
"It's ideas like that that might be able to help our community until we're able to move ahead and have more family doctors take on more patients in this region," Whissel said.
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