Closed Medical Office Leaves Residents in the Lurch
Hundreds of Stouffville area residents have found themselves without a family doctor since the physicians office in Downtown Stouffville closed earlier this summer.
With the closing of the physicians’ office on Main Street, several residents in town are left scrambling to find a new family doctor.
Dr. Peter Izso passed away in September last year and Dr. Patrick Wat announced his retirement earlier this year. While several clinics have taken over the patients that used to go to the two doctors, they have now reached full capacity and long waiting lists have been drawn. Almas Chaumette, who was a patient with Dr. Wat for six years, hasn’t been able to find a family doctor for her family. “My husband and I as well as our five-year-old son were listed with Dr. Wat. I have called all the doctors’ office in Stouffville and no one is accepting new patients,” said Almas, who is on a daily prescribed medication. “Dr Wat gave me refills of my prescription medicine on my last visit in April but I am due soon for more. I will need to visit walk-in clinics but it’s always difficult to get repeats because they don’t know your full medical history.”
Darlene Shaw, a mother of two, acted quickly when she saw a post on Facebook about Dr. Wat’s retirement. “We got lucky. I saw a post online about him leaving and was able to get another doctor in Stouffville within 24 hours. I panicked at the thought of losing Dr. Wat as my life-long doctor. I am hearing a lot of people are still struggling to find a general practitioner. If it hadn’t been for social media, I wouldn’t have known, as we only see the doctor when we are ill,” she said.
Several residents have put their names on waiting lists at different medical centres in town but they aren’t expecting to get on the roster for the next few months. The grapevine is abuzz with people saying that waiting lists are as long as 500 names because Dr. Wat had over 800 patients. Some residents in town are making use of walk-in clinics and emergency services for issues that need immediate attention.
Kip Ng decided to look beyond Stouffville and signed up with a family doctor in Markham. “I wondered if there was a better way to find a new family doctor rather than calling each clinic and a quick search landed me on the Health Connect page. I reached out to them to de-enrol my two boys and myself from Dr. Wat and registered with them. They explained that I would have to wait if I wanted a doctor in Stouffville and found us one in Markham. I am happy with the service,” he said.
Readers looking to contact Health Connect can do so as follows:
Register by phone at 1-800-445-1822, Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm or log on to https://www.ontario.ca/page/find-family-doctor-or-nurse-practitioner#section-0