Dr. Ichpal Singh will once again be practicing in Bonavista, after being dismissed by Eastern Health mid-April of 2018.
“Dr. Singh had a lot of patients when he was employed with Eastern Health in the Bonavista area,” Mayor John Norman told The Packet this week.
“Bonavista has had a challenge — as have many communities in Newfoundland- with continuity of physicians,” Norman said. “And Dr. Singh had been practicing here for over a decade, so there were patients speaking to council, writing letters to council, asking us what we might be able to do to help.”
The Town of Bonavista granted a tax and rent break to Singh to help him set up a private practice in the Public Building on Church Street.
Council voted unanimously at an Aug. 6 council meeting to give Singh a six-month tax break as well as three months’ rent free, following three months at a 50 per cent rent discount.
The motion was carried unanimously — despite the uncertainty surrounding Singh’s dismissal.
“We still have not gotten the full details with what happened with Eastern Health, but we had to look at it from the community perspective,” said Norman.
Eastern Health told The Packet in a prior story that patients are being reassigned to other physicians at the Bonavista Health Centre to “ensure there are no gaps in care,” but would give no details as to the reason for Singh’s dismissal.
A former request by the Bonavista Concerned Citizens group on July 16 to provide startup costs for Singh was denied.
“The town wasn’t comfortable getting into that. We have other practitioners in the area, and we haven’t offered those types of supports in the past… those costs would be high, and would be setting a precedent we weren’t comfortable setting,” said the Mayor.
Despite several attempts by The Packet, Singh could not for reached for comment.
However, Norman says it is his understanding that the clinic should be open before the end of the year.
Related Story: A month on the Bonavista Peninsula without Dr. Singh