Editorializing with Krisi Marples ~ Paging a doctor-any doctor

*Editors note – I have now not only refilled my much needed prescriptions, but have secured a spot with a family doctor.  Oh, happy day!

I experienced my first foray into the world of healthcare in New Brunswick this week, and must admit, have been left with a sense of dismay.

But before I really start, let me say that upon coming to St. Stephen, I was pretty stoked there was a hospital, and said hospital had an emergency room that was open, every day.

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Where I was in rural Nova Scotia, although a large investment had recently been made at my local hospital, with assurances that with the investment, would come 24 hr emergency room care, I can report that even this week, that emergency room has experienced closures, as it does each week.

So, as far as I was concerned, Charlotte County was already ahead of the game. In my move, I planned well, and had several refills put on my regular prescriptions, giving me ample time to sort out anything that needed sorting here.

Those prescriptions have now run out, and yesterday, I began my efforts to have them refilled, and at the end of several frustrating phone calls, I find myself without refills, without a potential doctor, and have been on the receiving end of some unfortunate advice.

It’s important to note I don’t blame any of the health care professionals I spoke to yesterday for the lack of available service. It’s not the fault of the front line staff when the governing body doesn’t provide the necessary tools to do the job.

My first call was to the Wellness Center at the CCH, and I explained I was looking to have two prescriptions filled. My understanding was this was precisely the sort of request the clinic was designed to fulfill. Instead of making an appointment, I was told the clinic wasn’t taking any new patients, and to go to outpatients to have the prescriptions filled.

I was also informed the pharmacy could do a refill if it was within 30 days of the expiry. Amusingly, when I called the pharmacy and asked, within that 30 day time limit, I was told to call the wellness centre, because I wasn’t due for a refill at that time. And so it goes.
I admit, I chuckled. To my knowledge, choking out emergency with individuals requiring prescription refills is precisely one of the issues the wellness centre was designed to alleviate.

I also tried several local doctors offices, to see if anyone was taking patients. The ones who answered their phones informed me that not only were the doctors not taking new patients, but there was an average of a one month wait time for an appointment.

Nor can I drive to the Fundy Health Centre, and get my prescriptions re-filled. The point is that through this experience I have seen first-hand a structure that is systemically broken, and I don’t see a fix in sight.