Family Health team stops taking new patients

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Petrolia group serves
14,500 patients

If you were hoping to find a new doctor in Petrolia, you’ll have to look elsewhere, at least for now.
The Central Lambton Family Health Team  is not accepting new patients now.
Executive Director Sarah Milner says the team made the difficult decision after reviewing the caseloads of all the physicians.
In 2014, two new doctors joined the team and started searching for patients Since then, 4,000 people have signed up bringing the number of patients served by CLFHT to 14,500. Milner says some come from as far away as Dresden, Wallaceburg, and Sarnia.
Milner says the organization knew for a while the doctors, who also must provide emergency coverage at Charlotte Eleanor Englehart Hospital and provide some home care, were becoming stretched as their caseload’s climbed.
In the last few months, Milner says some of the more senior physicians had also been accepting new patients to help ease the workload.
“We didn’t want to take this step,” says Milner adding it is in the best interest of the existing patients. “We want to be sure the physicians can seen their clinic patients.”
Milner is surprised how quickly the rosters of the physicians filled up, but she says patients like the idea of having a team providing a number of services in one spot.
“It is unbelievable to think that three years ago we were needing patients …to now being a position to reassess and look at the overall practices. No one likes to put a hold on taking new patients.”
Milner says the decision will be reassessed on a monthly basis as patients move to different physicians.
Meantime, staff at the health team are directing people who call looking for a new doctor to those available in Corunna and Sarnia.
And Milner says the health team hopes to recruit one or two new physicians. She’s hopeful that will happen in the near future. “The health team model itself is attractive particularly to new physicians…they like having other physicians around them,” she says. “We’ve also been able to recruit through the residency program the team is part of.”

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