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Canadians Despair for Family Doctors

ic services as major challenges to the country's medicare system.

The family physician shortage is particularly acute in Quebec, where nearly 29 per cent of the population doesn't have a doctor.

The president of the Quebec College of Family Physicians, Bernard Lessard, says he gets up to 20 e-mails a day from people exasperated at the impossible task of finding a doctor to call their own.

A National Wait Times Strategy was developed in 2004 for five priority areas: cancer care, cardiac treatment, diagnostic tests such as MRIs, joint replacements and cataract surgeries.

But columnist Evelyn Myrie says in Hamilton wait time has gone up to 23 weeks from 20 weeks last year. This wait time has major consequence for the health of patients.

"We also learned about a local man who died before receiving government approval for the gastric surgery he so desperately sought for eight years. Forty-five-year-old Jamie Bogart's approval for treatment for his severe obesity came one day after he was buried," she added.

A disaster in the making unless all concerned put their heads together and devise appropriate strategies, sociologists warn.
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