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View Full Version : Losing your family doctor - now what?



Damon
12-19-2007, 05:27 PM
My elderly mother, age 87, tells me that at the end of the month her family doctor is retiring and no one is taking over his practice.

So what does she do now?

She's on the waiting list at Group Health but they advise many months wait.

In the meantime if she needs to see a doctor the only option appears to be the emergency department at the hospital with no appointments and long wait times.

She has a number of active drug prescriptions from her current doctor; what will happen with them? Who will decide how long they need continue and approve refills?

What about her lifelong medical records that I assume are at the retiring doctor's office?

I could use a dummies guide to losing your family doctor. Googling the topic did not result in much; most of the info was about strategies for finding a family doctor.

Any advice or suggestions?

MaO3
12-19-2007, 05:33 PM
I know exactly what your going through. Both my parents lost thier doctor, not to retirement but he lost his license.

She can request her file and the doctor should give her a copy to have.
Unfortuntely she will be forced to do as so many others must for a prescription refill; go to the hospital and wait.

Its a very sad situation thats for sure. My dad's on cholestoral medication and should be having regular blood tests to ensure his liver function is ok and his cholestoral levels are where they should be. He's mentioned it to the doctors when getting his refills and no-one seems to give a poop!
Sad but true.
I've tried to get him into my doctor, but he wont' accept them as he's only working part-time now himself.

It really really sucks!

Simba
12-19-2007, 05:44 PM
That is truly sad. Last month when I was sitting in the walk in clinic at the hospital, about 10 people were sitting in there waiting to see a doctor for prescription refills. No wonder the walk in is so busy.

goodasgold
12-19-2007, 05:49 PM
My kids, myself and other members of my family are in that position. Our doctor was going to retire in March, but because he hasn't found a new doctor to take over his practice, he is holding off retiring until October. Thankfully my kids and I are not ill, but my mom and sister are on medications. My doctor is an awesome guy and I think that him trying to find a doctor shows he cares about his patients too.

Hope all goes well for your mom.

mags
12-19-2007, 05:58 PM
We have been on the list at the GHC for 3 yrs and are told it will be another 3-5 years. Closer to five than 3. Literaly may die before get another Dr. Going to the walk in clinic is a drag and not very good

chase_me
12-19-2007, 06:18 PM
I am dreading the day my doc retires, all i can hope is hemis doc will take at the least the kids if not all of us on.

dancingqueen
12-19-2007, 06:40 PM
me and the walk-in are good friends... I have to go there to refil my insulin, ventolin, and a few other pills I take... If you go first thing in the morning it is not such a bad wait. That's my secret to sanity /ubbthreads/images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/smile.gif

Tutones
12-19-2007, 07:22 PM
I heard from my doctor's nurse that it is a 7 year wait to get a doctor at GHC. My doctor will be retiring within the year and I'm not looking forward to it. Apparently you have to keep renewing your name on the waiting list every six months - year too or they will drop it?

MagicFingers
12-19-2007, 07:29 PM
If you think your doctor is going to retire put your name on the list. I don't have a doctor but my name is on the list. My mom and dad have a doctor that they know plans on retiring in about 3 years so their names are already on the waiting list for a doctor. This way they will be that much closer when the day comes that their doctor retires.

LIKETOWIN
12-19-2007, 09:32 PM
they advised u many months how about many years my husband has not had a gp since peter hiron left the soo and has been on the list at group health for years he has a heart doctor but no gp.

1337
12-19-2007, 09:35 PM
Is it possible for me to remove my self from doctors care to allow someone who needs it more?

Macs II
12-19-2007, 09:39 PM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: T-pot</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Is it possible for me to remove my self from doctors care to allow someone who needs it more? </div></div>

good question....but your dr. may not take any new patients if he's got too many already even if you leave.

1337
12-19-2007, 09:43 PM
I'm going to call tommorrow.

Babzz
12-19-2007, 10:04 PM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: T-pot</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Is it possible for me to remove my self from doctors care to allow someone who needs it more? </div></div>

T-pot.. what an awesome thought. You must be a really good person. /ubbthreads/images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/high5.gif to you for even suggesting something as nice as that.

Luv to be on the GO
12-19-2007, 10:13 PM
T-Pot .....are you sure you know what your doing ?????
You may feel O.K. NOW BUT what if something happened and you didn`t have a Dr.???? and had to be on a waiting list for YEARS ...
Nice thought BUT I wouldn`t give up my Dr. for anything
I thank god everyday I have him ...and I`m not sick ...YET !!!
Sorry but that`s MO

1337
12-19-2007, 10:15 PM
I haven't had a doctors appointment in 3 years, i'm 27, and in no immediate danger.

For someone 87, who relies on consistent Doctors appointments, i'm sure I have a bit more waiting time than they do so see a doctor.

MagicFingers
12-19-2007, 10:36 PM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: T-pot</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Is it possible for me to remove my self from doctors care to allow someone who needs it more? </div></div>

NO..you can remove yourself and someone else may go back up on the list but you have no control over who that is.... Like if you wanted to give up your spot for your wife or mother..they won't do that. My grandfather passed away and we asked the doctor if I could have his spot and they told me no. Meanwhile my mother father and remaining grandparents have the same doctor and they still wouldn't take me.

Macs II
12-19-2007, 10:37 PM
I lost 3 Dr's in the 90's because they all left town but lucky for me someone else always took over....now I have (past 10 years) still fairly young female Dr. hopefully she won't leave anytime soon.

MagicFingers
12-19-2007, 10:42 PM
I am of the impression it is first come first serve. I have been on the waiting list for over a year. I can't see someone coming behind me and getting one. Other wise those who are relatively healthy will never have a doctor which doesn't seem very fair either. I knwo I am relatively healthy but you never know when something is going to happen. My example is that I found out I was pregnant on Nov 21....but I was spotting knew somethign wasn't right so I had to go down to the hospital 7 hours later and they confirmed the pregnancy but had to wait till the next day and come back for an ultrasound. So the next day I go only supposed to be an hour pre booked appointment ended up being 12 hours and filled with bad news in the ER...followed by 8 more days of having to return to the hospital to see yet another doctor for follow up. In the course of 8 days I saw 6 different doctors and got 5 different diagnoses it wasn't until later that they got dr Zehr to see me and we had to terminate the pregnancy due to it being a tubal (ectopic). I spent many many hours many many different emotions due to seeing so many different doctors and being told many different diagnoses. Had I had a family doctor it wouldn't have been near as bad nor would I have had to spend so much time at the hospital takign up nurses and doctors time. So although you may be healthy you never know when something is going to happen. if you have a doctor DO NOT give it up.

LIKETOWIN
12-20-2007, 08:50 AM
nope I was at the doctors on monday and had asked about that to get my husband a doctor they said cant do, too many people on the list. its not fair for them. but u would think if your giving up your spot it is for some one you know they would allow it but they wont.

IMHO
12-20-2007, 09:13 AM
I no longer have a doctor and realize that i will only get care when brought in by ambulance. Its a sad state of affairs...its a crisis and no one is reacting.The govt had some nerve gouging more money from us for health care and then providing no service.Its time for an influx of nurse practitioners.

12-20-2007, 10:49 AM
***********

Before my Dr left, I had him write me my prescriptions with enough repeats for a year. If she is on any type of maintenance medication (like heart meds, high blood pressure etc) this may be an option for her to at least save her time at the Screw Area Hospitals.

Luv to be on the GO
12-21-2007, 02:11 AM
THINKING HARD
I agree with you 110%

Macs II
12-21-2007, 02:17 AM
When will people realize that government run health care will never be perfect. As long as people want this type of health care system it will never change ...so put up with it and stop your whining .

CyLixx
12-21-2007, 10:18 AM
I had a family doctor go back to school to become a psychiatrist.
I found out ONLY because the walls were paper thin and i heard her telling an older lady about it..

she didnt have anyone to take her patients either.
Ended up doctorless for about 5 yrs when my knees started getting
real bad my grandpa got me in with his doctor...

My kids ped doc just retired as well last yr....took me a yr but i got them in to see my doc after trying a few others first that didnt work...
So relieved as the two oldest have medications...glad i dont have to go to SAH for them anymore...
i dont think there is anything ppl can do if they have no doc besides trying family members family docs or the SAH unfortunatly....

Puppy Lover
01-04-2008, 10:55 AM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Thinking Hard</div><div class="ubbcode-body">I no longer have a doctor and realize that i will only get care when brought in by ambulance. Its a sad state of affairs...its a crisis and no one is reacting.The govt had some nerve gouging more money from us for health care and then providing no service.Its time for an influx of nurse practitioners. </div></div>


I couldn't agree with you more with regards to the influx of nurse practitioners. I am a Nurse Practitioner who is unable to find work in the Sault. I travel 1200 kms. per week to work along the North Shore (Blind River and Serpent River). IMO, this is absolutely ridiculous. There are several other Nurse Practitioners in the Sault who are not working as NPs because of the lack of available jobs. And yet, all you hear about is the number of people without a physician. NPs can provide AT LEAST 80% of the care that is currently provided by physicians, so it is high time we started utilizing them. As long as the members of this community continue to allow in excess of $600,000 a year to go to recruiting physicians instead of utilizing that money to establish an NP clinic, the problem will never be resolved.

Karen-Annie
01-04-2008, 01:54 PM
Is there <u><span style="color: #006600">ANY</span></u> way for a group of NP's to get together,find an MD to "supervise",develop a proposal and get a clinic off the ground.....similar to the foot clinics,laser/aesthetic procedures tx places,etc. that have been started? Two or three of them would almost wipe out the "orphan patient" list AND take the pressure off the ER/walk-in clinic AND free up funds for going after badly-needed SPECIALISTS.

Too bad that the powers-that-be at ALL levels aren't on the ball enough to recognize that.

mboy67
01-04-2008, 01:58 PM
I have not had a Family Doctor in 15 years. The only way I get medical attention is going directly to the hospital. not the best way but it's the only way I have been able to.

Puppy Lover
01-04-2008, 02:02 PM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Karen-annie</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Is there <u><span style="color: #006600">ANY</span></u> way for a group of NP's to get together,find an MD to "supervise",develop a proposal and get a clinic off the ground.....similar to the foot clinics,laser/aesthetic procedures tx places,etc. that have been started? Two or three of them would almost wipe out the "orphan patient" list AND take the pressure off the ER/walk-in clinic AND free up funds for going after badly-needed SPECIALISTS.

Too bad that the powers-that-be at ALL levels aren't on the ball enough to recognize that. </div></div>


This has been done K-A, but the process is VERY long. I graduated 3 1/2 years ago and had 24 years experience as an RN prior to becoming an NP and was still unable to find employment in the Sault. Sudbury has recently been granted an NP clinic but it has been about 5 years in the making. However, they had a HUGE AMOUNT of support from the community, whereas I don't see that happening in the Sault. I have written letters to the editor, letters to ALL municipal, provincial and federal politiciians and have had very little response.

Puppy Lover
01-04-2008, 02:05 PM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: mboy67</div><div class="ubbcode-body">I have not had a Family Doctor in 15 years. The only way I get medical attention is going directly to the hospital. not the best way but it's the only way I have been able to. </div></div>

It is very unfortunate that people have had to resort to walk-in clinics for medical care. This care is very fragmented, you likely see a different health care provider each time, and your immediate needs are addressed without looking at the whole picture. There is no health promotion, illness prevention, availability of complete physical assessments, follow up for chronic conditions, preventative care such as PAP smears, and I could go on and on. The current system is NOT working, the people in this community need to start rattling cages.

J*B
01-04-2008, 02:06 PM
It's just such a desirable city to be in, that's why the doctors are flocking here!
If they want more doctors in the Sault they are going to have to sweeten the offers a whole lot more than what they have done so far.
I feel for those without a doctor, but even for me to get in to see my doctor takes 2-3 months of waiting, either that or emerg. for 8 hours or more.

Puppy Lover
01-04-2008, 02:08 PM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: JB</div><div class="ubbcode-body">It's just such a desirable city to be in, that's why the doctors are flocking here!
If they want more doctors in the Sault they are going to have to sweeten the offers a whole lot more than what they have done so far.
I feel for those without a doctor, but even for me to get in to see my doctor takes 2-3 months of waiting, either that or emerg. for 8 hours or more. </div></div>

Perhaps we need to STOP focusing so much of our attention and financial resources to recruit physicians who will likely leave within a five year period anyway, and start utilizing the resources that we have available right in our own community for a FRACTION of the cost.

Karen-Annie
01-04-2008, 03:58 PM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: JB</div><div class="ubbcode-body">It's just such a desirable city to be in, that's why the doctors are flocking here!
If they want more doctors in the Sault they are going to have to sweeten the offers a whole lot more than what they have done so far.
I feel for those without a doctor, but even for me to get in to see my doctor takes 2-3 months of waiting, either that or emerg. for 8 hours or more. </div></div>

The problem is NOT the Soo's desireability as a place to live.The problem is a HUGE shortage of MD's that will only get worse as those of baby boomer age retire.It's not a Soo problem,an Ontario problem,a Canadian problem or even a North American problem but a global problem.We don't have the resources to sweeten the pot that much.It makes far more sense to make use of the personnel already here and under-employed.....more sense economically and medically.Too bad that the government and ministry wouldn't start thinking that way....what a difference it would make not only in health care/illness prevention but in the MOHLTS health care budgeting.

shadowjak
01-04-2008, 11:17 PM
I have been on the waiting list for 6 years,good luck

mokitapupita
01-04-2008, 11:19 PM
your doomed

shadowjak
01-04-2008, 11:22 PM
Not quite,I have distilled an elixer from my army of symbiotes that allows me to remain healthy with limited side effects,EEEEEEEEEEEEEHEHEHEHEEHEHEEHEE um er as I was saying