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'It makes me angry': Saskatoon clinic shuts down amid family doctor shortage

Krysta Arsenault has been a patient at Broadway Family Physicians since it’s been open but walked out the doors for the last time on Wednesday.

Arsenault says her doctor delivered both her babies and was disappointed to hear the clinic would be closing, especially knowing there’s a family doctor shortage across the country.

“We have huge issues with doctors in this city, and it’s not the doctors themselves,” she told CTV News outside the clinic.

A voicemail for the clinic says its last day is Wednesday. The office manager declined an interview with CTV News and gave no reasons for the closure.

The voicemail says some of the family doctors are retiring while others are leaving family medicine for another practice.

Arsenault has been hunting for a new family doctor but hasn’t managed to find anybody, leaving her “very disappointed.”

She says the owners are the ones at Broadway Family Physicians who are deciding to close the clinic, not the doctors.

“It makes me angry, forsure it does. I am mad at the owners, don’t know who they are, so it’s faceless, right? But I also think it’s a bigger issue,” Arsenault said.

Doctor Decline

According to data from the College of Family Physicians in Canada, Saskatchewan is one of the provinces that lost the most family doctors per capita in the last couple of years.

Between 2019 and 2021, the province lost 65 family doctors, a loss of 6.4 per cent.

“I think it backups the reality of what we’ve been seeing as clinicians and what patients have been experiencing,” said family physician Dr. Adam Ogieglo.

Ogieglo says the healthcare system hasn’t been able to respond to the challenges that exist in operating a family practice, adding the problem will spread to walk-in clinics.

“I think that’s where we’re going to see a lot of these unattached patients go to seek out care, so there’s going to be longer wait times as people use those services,” Ogieglo said.

Dr. Andries Muller, president of the Saskatchewan College of Family Physicians says the data doesn’t specify why the number of family doctors is declining, but says team-based care to offload the work from physicians is something that would help.

“Many of them feel overwhelmed and overburdened, so they’re slowing down their practices. If (they’re) practicing five days a week, they’re starting to practice three or four days a week.”

During Question Period on Wednesday, Premier Scott Moe defended the province’s actions.

“This past year there's been an increase of 107 physicians across the province of Saskatchewan, Mr. Speaker, 51 family physicians, 56 specialists working in our healthcare system," he said. Top Stories

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