Dear Mr. Editor:
Thank you for printing my last letter to the editor in the Fort Frances Times re: community health care in crisis [“Answers needed,” Feb. 3]. I would like to take your remarks to task that I am providing false information for the purposes of misleading the public [“Just the facts,” Feb. 10].
I want the public to know my facts are correct. Yes, we lost five doctors five years ago. Yes, the loss of doctors created a shortage of physicians practising locally.
Yes, five years ago this happened. And on Oct. 12, 2005, a public meeting was held where the public was informed of the loss of these doctors, and how it created a serious shortage of physicians practising locally in our community.
Yes, these five doctors have left. Yes, we have not replaced them to date. I would hope today—five years later—we were not in a crisis. But in my opinion, the crisis of the last five has not improved, but gotten worse.
We fought the Family Health Team concept for one reason: clearly it is a CHO model or the road to privatization. We believe this road has been paved—and we are on it. We don’t like it but we are on it.
I would like to comment on Coun. Wiedenhoeft’s remarks, who only believes a crisis exists if you can’t see a doctor. How does this work? You can’t see a doctor today, but you can get an appointment in three months, so that is not a crisis?
WSIB, CPD all work on time limits, and not being able to see your doctor now becomes a crisis. Many patients require routine care and they can’t get in for months. That’s not a crisis? Emergency room doctors normally refer you back to your regular doctor in these cases, so you still wait. That’s not a crisis?
It has been said if you can’t get in to see your rostered doctor, you can go to Emergency, at the hospital, and see a doctor on call. Yes, you can. But what you have now is an Emergency Room at the hospital acting as a walk-in clinic.
If everyone wishes to do this, then shut down the clinic and set up a walk-in clinic at the hospital. God knows there is enough vacant space at the hospital to accommodate this. And instead of waiting three months to get in, it will be like Thunder Bay walk-in clinics where you will be at least seen today.
We could go on and on but in closing, I want to assure the community that I will not misrepresent my facts to you. And for all it’s worth, I did not speak to, or with, the Fort Frances Times nor did they contact me to seek clarification, question, or address any concerns they may have with me or my article.
My impression of their article was simply to discredit me with the public. Poison pen and defamation can lead to lawsuits.
I would hope next time the writer of such articles at the Fort Frances Times would sign their name to their articles like I do, then we would all know the person’s name making said allegations.
Thank you for the time and space to respond to your article.
Allan T. Bedard
Fort Frances, Ont.
Editor’s note: Your initial letter incorrectly stated at least five doctors have left our community health care model since the public meeting was held in October, 2005.
The fact remains five doctors left town before that meeting was held, not since—a very important distinction to make.