The following was issued from The District of Sault Ste. Marie Social Services Administration Board about the unfortunate de-rostering of 10,000 patients from the Group Health Centre, and potential impacts as the provider of Paramedic Services.
The District of Sault Ste. Marie Social Services Administration Board is deeply concerned about the worsening access to primary care in our community.
The Group Health Centre recently announced that approximately 10,000 patients will lose access to their family doctor as of May 31 due to physician shortages and recruitment challenges, with more patients likely to lose access to primary care in the coming months.
Without access to same-day care, or a primary care provider, patients look to emergency rooms and 911 to access medical care. This will directly translate to a significant increase in calls for the Paramedic Service and increased off-load delays experienced at Sault Area Hospital, which will ultimately impact our ability to respond to emergencies.
In 2023, our ambulances spent an average of 5024 hours waiting to offload patients, with the average time being 30 minutes to offload a patient waiting for care.
Patients who go time and time again to either an urgent care or emergency room without having access to primary care will ultimately impact emergent community healthcare needs. A lack of primary care providers will ultimately tie up ambulances and pose a significant risk for the communities we serve.
“We anticipate that this will have a significant effect on our operations, and has the potential to increase hospital off-load delays,” says DSSMSSAB Chair Stephanie Hopkins, “We urge provincial and health care leaders find ways to increase primary care access for the community. We are ready to work with our community partners and the province to help develop solutions to lessen the anticipated impact.”