It might be upsetting to learn that your family doctor is leaving, moving, or closing their office. Many Nova Scotians are struggling with it as the province tries to keep and attract family doctors.
With 25% of family doctors in Nova Scotia being 60 years of age or older, the medical profession is getting older. The majority of family physicians are currently fully booked, and many have added more patients over the years in an effort to provide care for as many patients as possible.
No doctor wants to watch one of their patients suffer. Keep in mind that your doctor is a human, too; they get sick, have kids, retire, and move away, all of which have an impact on the number of people they can care for.
Although it is upsetting to lose your family doctor, there are actions you can take to get ready and make sure your medical care continues as planned. Here is a list of six items to consider.
1. Book a final appointment
Make one last appointment with your doctor if you can. As long as your doctor suggests, get your prescriptions renewed. While some prescriptions can be given for up to a year, others need to be monitored more frequently. You should enquire about who will manage your future blood test results and how you will be informed if you require urgent care. A specialist who has previously been referred to you should get in touch with you directly to schedule an appointment.
2. Put your name on the waitlist
Call 811 or go online to join the Need a Family Doctor waitlist at https://needafamilypractice.nshealth.ca/. You can sign up for virtual treatment through VirtualCareNS, which offers virtual care to Nova Scotians without family doctors, after you’re on the waitlist. Each month, Nova Scotia Health releases a report on the waitlist that includes local data.
3. See if you need a copy of your medical record
If you’d like a copy of your medical history, get in touch with your doctor’s office; it’s not necessary, but if you have complicated medical problems, it can be useful to your new family doctor. Even after their office closes, doctors are required to maintain patient medical records for 10 years (for children, it’s 10 years after the child becomes age 19). The files are deleted when that time has passed. To find out where your record is kept if you are unable to reach your doctor’s office, get in touch with the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Nova Scotia.
4. Self-refer for cancer screening
Whatever your situation, don’t allow cancer screening slip your mind. Every three years, Pap tests should be performed on cervixes in sexually active adults over the age of 25. One can be scheduled at a nearby Well Woman Clinic. Every two years, people ages 50 to 74 should get screened for colon cancer. The test kits are sent out by the Colon Cancer Prevention Program by mail. For women aged 50 to 74 and for those in that age group who have been taking gender-affirming hormones like estrogen for more than five years, a mammography is advised every two to three years to screen for breast cancer. There are also mobile mammography clinics offered around the province.
More to these health tips at https://www.yourdoctors.ca/blog/health-care/losing-dr