People without a doctor or who will become are invited to register at Quebec Family Doctor Finder (GAMF) | VIVA MÉDIA Skip to main content

Sylvain Dufresne, physician in charge of DRMG Vaudreuil-Soulanges and president of the Association des médecins omnipractiens du Sud-Ouest, wants people who have lost or who will lose their family doctor in the coming months to register at Québec Family Doctor Finder (GAMF) for a family doctor.

Dr Sylvain Dufresne and Dr Josiane Gagnon from the Trois-Lacs Medical Center. (Photo Steve Sauvé)

Within three years, family physicians practicing in Vaudreuil-Soulanges will retire. In Vaudreuil-Dorion, 4 doctors will no longer practice, while 2 doctors from Hudson are over 65 years old. This is without counting the retirement of Dr. Jean-Pierre Downs as well as the cessation of practice of another physician in Hudson.

“There are family physicians who have up to 4,000 patients, explains Dr. Dufresne. So that leaves a lot of patients orphaned. It must be understood that when a doctor retires, his patients do not stop being sick. A physician who is leaving will attempt to transfer all his patients who suffer from chronic illness to a colleague. However, the other patients find themselves without a family doctor. That’s why it’s important that they register at Québec Family Doctor Finder (GAMF) when they learn
that their doctor is retiring.”

Dr. Dufresne explains that between 200 and 300 citizens of Vaudreuil-Soulanges register at the GAMF each week. “There has been an increase in enrolment. In September 2019, 81.5% of the population of Vaudreuil-Soulanges was followed. There were therefore 3,500 people waiting at the GAMF. Currently, 82.4% of people have access to a doctor, but there are 5,000 registrations that are pending.”

Not enough doctors

Vaudreuil-Soulanges has an approximate population of 160,000 souls. Of this number, 92,000 citizens are followed by local doctors and 40,000 citizens consult outside the region. “So that’s still close to 30,000 people who don’t have a family doctor. It would take 31 more family medicine doctors in the region so that Suroît can have the same ratio of doctors and patients as for the rest of Montérégie. In 2022, there are 11 family doctor positions that will be opened in the region. However, just because positions are available does not mean that there will be doctors.”

Interestingly, Dr. Dufresne explains that new graduates are not necessarily interested in family medicine. “Young doctors want to work in emergency. Office medicine is less and less attractive. There are a lot of constraints in doing family medicine. If that doesn’t change, Quebec will hit a wall. Soon, there are more than 800,000 people who will not have a family doctor in Quebec. In Montreal, 30% of family doctors are over 65 years old. Inevitably, they will retire in the next few years.”

It is difficult to get family doctors to take more patients. “The risk is that they will leave the hospital setting if they are forced to take additional patients. We must therefore change the way of working and improve collaboration. However, it is important to clarify that a person who does not have a family doctor and whose state of health requires urgent care, will have care. There is no doubt about it.”

The attraction

Attracting a doctor in the region is not easy. In Vaudreuil-Soulanges, an additional challenge is present. There is no hospital. “Every year we lose at least one doctor. Things could change when the hospital is built. During the last Recruitment Fair, people approached me to tell me about the future Vaudreuil-Soulanges Hospital. There are even specialists who have inquired about the matter. So that’s encouraging.”

Steve Sauvé

Journaliste

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