Doctor crisis is over: MEDIC committee dissolves itself

Jonathan Riley, Digby Courier
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The old Nurses’ Residence was torn down in April 2013 to make room for a new Health Centre on the corner of Warwick and West Streets.

Medical Emergency Digby in Crisis, a committee created to help resolve the shortage of physicians in Digby, has dissolved itself because they say the shortage is almost over.

MEDIC was made up of representatives from the Town of Digby, the Digby and Area Health Services Charitable Foundation and South West Health.

The representative from the Municipality of the District of Digby, councillor David Tudor, resigned last fall. He said at the time he didn’t want to be part of a committee that only listened to reports, but wanted to actually work at solutions.

Town councillor Bob Handspiker sat on the committee and was among those who voted to dissolve.

“We’ll have six doctors on the ground and practicing in Digby by January,” said Handspiker. “They felt we will have enough doctors. The crisis is over.”

Handspiker says two physicians who graduate this July will start practicing here in either July or August; a third is scheduled to begin practicing in 2015.

Dr. Pejman Nourian opened his practice last fall and has slowly been taking on new patients.

Dr. John Black and Dr. Marek Bander have well-established practices here.

Handspiker says six physicians should be enough.

“I can only remember us having as many as five here,” he said.

Handspiker says South West Health will continue recruiting for the area but the municipal units will not be as involved.

Recently the town and municipality have supplied money for incentive packages.

“If something happens and they need our help again, I’m sure we’ll hear from them,” he said.

The town and municipality and health foundation have also each committed $20,000 for renovations within Digby General, meant to provide temporary office space for the new doctors.

The town and municipality and health foundation have also each committed funding for the new collaborative health clinic to be built beside the hospital.

Clinic construction tender awarded

That contract has been awarded but no one at South West Health was able to tell the Courier last week to whom, nor for how much nor when work would begin at the site.

“They haven’t told us yet either,” said Handspiker.

South West Health said in January, after reviewing bids on the construction project, that the cost of the clinic was going to be greater than expected.

The price for the project has varied some over the years. Early estimates in 2009 put the project at $2.4 million. That estimate dropped in 2010 to $1.7 million.

Organizations: MEDIC committee, Area Health Services Charitable Foundation

Geographic location: Digby

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Recent comments

  • Philippe Frigault
    March 14, 2014 - 03:19

    Crisis is over ?????>>>you are not on the same planet we are if you think it is over

  • Grete R
    March 10, 2014 - 20:53

    Well, would you please inform me, who would be the six family doctors? Dr. Black, Dr Bänder, Dr Nourian are 3 only. We moved here from Ontario (2008) , left behind our beloved and dedicated family doctor, but since we still don't have a family doctor. This unfair games with the phone registration /first 100 callers etc. are belongs in a TV game show, not for respected, dedicated medical service. The town should be able to provide everyone who in needs a family physician, not using "lottery" to decide who is eligible. Should not be matter of how many doctors "we have" till everyone able to have their family doctor. If 3 doctor could take care of everyone, will be enough 3,but otherwise.... The patients and families without a family physician should determinate how many doctors needed!

    • Sandi
      March 11, 2014 - 11:07

      Hands up - who really believes this story? Didn't think so!!