Editorial that should have run in the Nov. 29th Digby Courier
Digby’s greatest challenge is attracting more doctors.
We are short four doctors at least, and it is hurting the community in uncountable ways.
The emergency department will be closed every Wednesday and Friday til next year – that’s 14 per cent of the time.
Hundreds of people in the area have no regular doctor and that means they’re putting up with little aches and pains that should be checked out. When these develop into serious health issues, people have no option but the ever-shrinking hours of the emergency department. Or leaving town.
Too many people already drive to the valley, to Yarmouth, even the city to see a general practitioner. Some don’t have the means—a car and the money for gas, let alone time or the good health —to travel that far.
Some decide, instead of all that driving, they’ll move.
Given this dire situation, the local municipal councils will do anything to attract doctors. Even agree to spend money we don’t have.
Digby town council agreed to fund the health centre—infrastructure for the town— but wisely said it couldn’t afford to fund doctor incentives packages as well.
South West Health however wants Digby to fund both and has asked them to reconsider.
The province should be funding this—it’s their responsibility—if Digby councils feel we need money to get doctors, then they have to lobby the province to pony up.
But the province won’t and probably shouldn’t engage in a bidding war against itself. A better idea is designated seats for the province’s most underserviced areas at medical school.