Newfoundland and Labrador
Mayors of the communities of Arnold’s Cove, Sunnyside, Come by Chance and Southern Harbour met with representatives from Eastern Health on Aug. 16 to discuss the future of health care in the area.
Primarily on the agenda was access to family doctors and general practitioners (GP) in the area.
Currently, there is no family doctor or GP in the communities of Sunnyside, Southern Harbour, or Come by Chance, although there is public health nurse in Come by Chance available from 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday to Friday at the town hall building.
In Arnold’s Cove, Dr. Geoffrey Fowlow sees patients on a part-time basis.
Many residents of the communities travel as far as Whitbourne or Clarenville, travelling distances of up to 60-70 kilometres to see their family doctor.
“We agreed with Eastern Health, that they’re going to do a study, a needs study, and see if it is viable to have a nurse practitioner (NP) stationed in this area,” explained Arnold’s Cove Mayor Basil Daley, who noted that Eastern Health acknowledged it would be difficult to appoint a doctor in the area.
An NP is a Registered Nurse (such as a public health nurse) with additional experience and more advanced education (a Master’s degree), which means they can autonomously diagnose, treat and manage physical and mental illnesses.
Eastern Health told The Packet in an email that they are “committed to continued recruitment efforts for family physicians in the area as well as exploring options such as bringing in nurse practitioners as part of the primary health-care team for that region.”
As a result of the Aug. 16 meeting, Eastern Health says they are looking into the possibility of holding a community consultation on health services in the area.