Doctor shortage leads to closure of N.S. after-hours medical clinic

The Canadian Press ~ The News
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AMHERST, N.S. - The only after-hours medical clinic in Amherst, N.S., is closing its doors this week because of a doctor shortage in the community.
The clinic, part of the Amherst Family Health Clinic, will close on Thursday after seven years in operation.
"The community has lost three physicians in the past three years and those who remain are working more in the emergency department to help cover the shortage. They also have other responsibilities like obstetrics, the prison in Springhill and their own practices," Elizabeth Smith-McCrossin said Monday confirming the clinic is closing.
Smith-McCrossin, who recently sold the family health clinic, said Dr. Kamurz Zaman has done a lot of work to keep the after-hours clinic going, but he's set to leave the community in early December.
His replacement, expected in January, will not be able to keep the clinic open himself.
"There is absolutely a physician shortage here in Amherst," said Smith-McCrossin, adding that 25 per cent of the clinic's users in October did not have a family doctor, compared to just four per cent several years ago.
The clinic has seen about 37,000 visitors since 2002.
Cumberland Health Authority spokesperson Ann Keddy is aware of the clinic's closure and expects it will have an impact on the local hospital.
"It's going to increase the number of people coming to the emergency department," she said. "There were a lot of people who went to the clinic who didn't have a family doctor."
Keddy also said there continues to be a shortage of family physicians in Amherst.

Organizations: Amherst Family Health Clinic, Cumberland Health Authority

Geographic location: AMHERST, Springhill

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