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LETTER: Retired Cape Breton doctor worries about future of family physicians

Province also announces physician mental health supports in latest effort to address doctor shortage

As a retired family doctor who absolutely loved the job, I’m all too aware that Cape Breton does not have enough family doctors to care for all of us.

After finishing medical school, I chose family practice because it offered me the privilege to look after my patients throughout their lifespan, plus deliver some 2,500 babies. In my later years, I had the pleasure of delivering second-generation babies!

It has been an honour to be part of your family all these years. And throughout my almost 40 years of family practice, a decent chunk of my income went toward expenses.

With the recent announcement by the government to financially assist pharmacies, I’m left with the question: why did our government not offer family doctors $7,000 per month to cover some of their expenses?

Unfortunately, when the government leaves our dwindling numbers of family physicians out of the equation and to fend for themselves – financially, and with an extensive workload – it is obvious why the family physician field does not, and will not, attract many medical students.

In our Cape Breton reality of 2,500-plus patient practices, how can you ask a family doctor to keep their practice open when other avenues of medicine can be financially (and lifestyle-wise) much more lucrative?

I worry that this is the beginning of the end for our family doctors and ask a favor. Speak to your MLA and insist that the government take better care of our family doctors so they can continue to take all-round and excellent care of you.

I leave you with this question: Do you want band-aid solutions or all-round and follow-up care with your family doctor beside you every step of the way through an illness?

Dr. Jeanie Crosby

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