March 10th, 2023

Houston allows clinic to close, leaving thousands more without primary care

HALIFAX – The Houston government has refused to help keep the Southend Family Practice in Halifax open, pushing thousands more people onto the doctors waitlist. As of March 1, more than 137,000 people are waiting to be connected with a doctor or primary care provider, highlighting the critical need for more healthcare providers in the province. The release of the monthly Primary Care Provider Waitlist was delayed for the second month in a row.

Darrell Spurr and his partner are two of the people who will be without a doctor this summer when the South End clinic closes.

“It’s gut-wrenching to think about losing my doctor of twenty years. I want to know why it is impossible to accommodate this practice with another doctor. It does not make sense to lose four doctors for the price of one,” said Spurr. “I’ve been connected with that clinic for years and had the same doctor for the last two decades. I don’t think the government knows not only the quantity but the quality these doctors represent. Going onto the waitlist makes me very nervous, especially as I’m getting older and have more need to see the doctor.”

Primary Care clinics have been closing across the province, with the South End clinic being the latest in the news. The Houston government's continued inability to connect people with primary care puts more strain on the health care system, and on the dedicated healthcare professionals who work tirelessly to provide care to Nova Scotians.

“The shortage of health care providers is a problem that affects everyone, and it is particularly concerning for those who are in urgent need of medical attention. The fact that the government could have prevented the South End clinic from closing and didn’t is mindboggling,” said NDP Health and Wellness spokesperson Susan Leblanc. “Frontline workers and other health care professionals are warning that not enough is being done to retain health care providers, which leaves more families without access to the care they need.”

Nova Scotians need a government that’s willing to act boldly and decisively to create Family Health Teams working in a collaborative care model to connect more people to a health practitioner and reduce the current waitlist.