This community is coming together again to help solve the crisis at the Knowlton Medical Clinic. As you read elsewhere in this issue, by the end of May, there will be three doctors where once there were six. People are being turned away and advised to go online to find a new family doctor. Anecdotes abound of seniors with existing medical conditions, and there are many in this area, who are left not knowing where to turn.

Leafing through this issue of Tempo will help “orphaned” patients find interim measures until they acquire a new physician. Most importantly, they should register immediately so that the government knows how many people are without a doctor.

Our priority has to be to put pressure on the decision-makers in our huge health care system. Petitions are circulating in town, and those will help. But the real work needs to be done by our elected officials, at the local, regional and provincial level.

“The Clinic will stay open. I guarantee that,” says Mayor Richard Burcombe. Mr. Burcombe is on the health committee of the MRC, and so is the assistant of our local MNA, Isabelle Charest. It should help that Madame Charest is a cabinet minister.

We shouldn’t play down the crisis at the clinic. The province has two categories of emergency for a town or region: Red or Orange. So far we are neither. Ironically, our region was one of the few in Quebec where 80% of the population had a family doctor. As a result of having met the government’s stated objective, our region is not a high priority for the politicians and the bureaucrats of the Health Department.

This should be an added incentive to put pressure on the system as we have done so well in the past. The Knowlton Medical clinic was born out of the public will to have a local service center. We will not get three new doctors at the Knowlton Medical Clinic overnight, but our vigilant pressure will ensure that the issue is not forgotten somewhere in the meandering of a very bureaucratic system.

Our region is a strong magnet. This, coupled with public determination is a key ingredient in getting new doctors’ positions at our clinic.

For now, we can only hope that our elected officials, and the pressure of ordinary citizens, will help push through decisions that will better serve the health needs of our population.