By Greg Bennett
Shelburne Town councillors are questioning how doctors accept new patients in the community.
Last month, a second wave of patients was accepted by Shelburne’s newest physician, Dr. Aleksandra Malec. The new doctor is accepting patients in installments of 200 at a time. She will eventually accept a minimum of 1000 patients.
New patients have been accepted by calling a phone number on a first come/ first serve basis.
At a recent council meeting, Shelburne Mayor Karen Mattatall offered concerns that some of those in greatest need of a doctor wouldn’t get one.
“I’m hearing from several people it’s been very difficult, understandably, getting through,” she said. “I’m not suggesting we tell doctors what to do however …because several residents have brought this up …it would be very nice if there was a way for patients were assigned to doctor other than just … ‘here’s a phone number and if you’re lucky enough to get through you’re lucky enough to get through.”
She noted that many people with serious health issues may be left behind by this system of recruiting patients.
Once the next 200 patients are processed the new Shelburne doctor will once again open up the phone lines. She will open her family practice temporarily at Enterprise Square in Shelburne until the new medical centre near Roseway Hospital is complete.
“Accepting only a limited number of patients at a time will hopefully avoid the creation of a large list of patients that takes many months to process,” said a recent release. “This will also mean less time for new patients waiting for an appointment.”
The Town is writing a letter to South West Health for clarification on the issue.