It's been a tough decision, but Dr. Lisa Habermehl says it's time to close her clinic in Kenora.
"We're happy to do the work. Pleased to do the work. Priviliged to do the work, but if we can't balance out the time, and it starts taking away from our family and the other hats that we wear," she said, during a recent interview.
Habermehl was a partner in what was supposed to be a three-person clinic attahed to the Paterson Medical Clinic. However, running the operation short-handed, with just two doctors, became too much.
Instead, Habermehl is hoping to play a role in bringing more medical professionals to the community. In addition to about 35 physicians in the community, Habermehl would like to see at least 10 more.
"Ironically, I would say it was the lack of recruitment that led us to make the decision," she noted.
There are also needs in homecare -- where Habermehl she found herself doing home visits -- along with personal support workers in long-term care homes, where a lack of beds leads to a lack of hospital beds.
"It's almost impossible to access care after hours," Habermehl said.
Trying to share medical histories between caregivers was another issue, as electronic document sharing between nursing clinics in First Nations, local doctors and out-of-town hospitals remains a challenge, Habermehl said.
When neighbouring First Nations are included, Habermehl's estimate of the workload might be enough for more than 60 doctors to fill. However, she notes newer graduates aren't willing to put in 80 or 100 hours a week, as some have in the past.
Habermehl's also watching closely to see how the review at the Lake of the Woods District Hospital concludes. She's hoping to see more teamwork between doctors and other medical professionals.
Kenora's family doctors have been vocal in recent months, as they warn residents about the prospect of losing services.
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