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The Mountaineer - Rocky Mountain House, Alberta, Canada
© 2007 The Mountaineer Publishing Company Limited.


More physicians leave Rocky Medical Clinic
By Brittany Willsie 
Staff Reporter

By the end of 2020, the Rocky Medical Clinic will be short eight family physicians. 
This includes pre-existing empty positions that haven’t been filled, as well as some upcoming physician losses. 
Last month, Dr. Gregg Robinson retired and Dr. Kim Rogers said his retirement is “the passing of an era.” 
Dr. Steven Bredenoord will also be retiring this fall and Dr. Carike Dowling will be leaving her practice at the clinic to focus solely on working at the long-term care facilities.
“It’s unfortunately a dramatic effect on our patients because many of these patients – who’ve had these doctors who are leaving for a long time – will no longer have a family doctor and we don’t have new doctors on the horizon to be able to take on new patients,” Rogers said. 
In many cases, these patients become “orphaned patients” as they cannot find a new family doctor. 
“This is distressing for the patients, and it’s distressing for us as physicians as well. We will all try to be able to accommodate the needs of the patients, but the numbers of patients are now in the thousands of people in our community who don’t have a family doctor,” Rogers explained. 
Lots of effort is being put into recruitment. At this time, the clinic has one potential physician, but Rogers said as they are an international medical grad, it can take six to nine months to be able to complete the recruitment process. 
The Rocky Clearwater Physician Recruitment and Retention Society meets regularly to try to address the needs of new physicians coming in.
Rogers said they are advertising and trying to recruit new Alberta graduates, as well as international medical graduates. 
“We just want our patients to know that we’re trying very hard to get new physicians and trying to get the ones that we do have here to stay,” Rogers expressed. 
“For rural Alberta, it’s always an uphill battle to make that happen and we’re just at a crisis point right now in terms of our physician numbers – we’re hoping that we’ll be able to turn that around.” 
The clinic has returned to operating at full hours. Patients are still required to book an appointment, as the clinic can’t accommodate walk-ins.
Self check-ins and online bookings are in the works so patients can look forward to seeing those procedures implemented in the future.