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A shortage of urologists has become so pronounced that patients’ lives are at risk, managers of a St. John’s-based health authority have been warned.
In a powerfully worded letter to the Eastern Health regional authority, urologist Dr. Douglas Drover said an “excessive volume of work” in the specialty has meant waiting times of almost a year for patients seeking treatment.
Not exactly one of those problems that you can take two aspirin and call me in morning:
Andy Grant, a member of a prostate cancer support group in St. John’s, said he is afraid that people will die — or already have — while waiting for surgery.
“First of all, [patients deal with] the shock you might have prostate cancer, then the shock of being confirmed with prostate cancer,” he said. “Now you have the shock of saying, ‘I have to wait until next year?’ “
And what is the government’s response? What it always is, trot out a “new” government strategy to solve the problem:
Health Minister Ross Wiseman said the government is working on a solution to staffing shortages in urology and other areas.
“We’re in the process now of developing a physician human resource plan, and we hope to be able to, either in the early fall or late winter, roll out that strategy,” Wiseman said.
The more I read about the Canadian health care system, the more I think it should have the moniker “Operation Wheelspin.”