Patients left 'with nowhere to turn' amid long-running shortage of family physicians
When Tarek Emara called his family doctor north of Toronto hoping to book an appointment three weeks ago, he didn't expect to be told he was no longer a patient at the clinic.
"The receptionist ... answers the call and says, 'Oh, we haven't seen you since 2016, and as a result, we dropped you from your list and you're no longer at this clinic,'" Emara, who lives in Markham, Ont., told CBC Toronto.
"It's obviously very disappointing, I shouldn't be penalized for keeping healthy."
Emara is now among the more than two million people without a family doctor in Ontario, according to a report released last month. In 2020, 1.8 million Ontarians reported not having a family physician, a number that has ballooned to 2.2 million in 2022, according to data from Inspire-PHC, a health-care research group. Long-established research has found people without a regular family physician are more reliant on emergency rooms and are more likely to end up hospitalized.