Retirement of long-standing physician will leave long list of orphan patients says reader

To the Editor:
I have just sent the following letter to the Saugeen Shores Council.
We are dismayed to see the appalling treatment of Dr. McCulloch by his professional body. Dr. McCulloch has served a huge number of patients in Port Elgin for 40 years with compassion and professionalism and has been forced into retirement by a regulatory body which does not understand the workings of Family Physician offices in small towns.  He has also been placed in this position by the inability of the Town to attract a physician (or physicians) to replace him.  There will now be over 1700 people in Saugeen Shores without a family physician, a number which will surely increase with the influx of new residents.
Letter to Council:
My wife Elaine and I have just left Dr. McCulloch’s office, where we and 1700 other patients are lining up to collect our medical files.  At the end of August, we will all become “orphaned” and have no family doctor.
Dr. McCulloch has told us that he is retiring because he has been “forced out” by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario through their insisting that his records need to be computerized.  The College is completely insensitive to the plight of doctors and patients in smaller communities.
Dr. McCulloch is extremely unhappy to have been placed in the position of “abandoning” 1700 patients without any contingency plan in place and we sympathize with him.  He has served this community well and would be more than happy to continue until a replacement is in place.  To our knowledge, there are no new family physicians coming to town and none of the existing ones are taking on additional patients.
We believe strongly that this situation severely undermines Saugeen Shores’ position as a desirable place in which to live, which should be a major concern to Council.
We also believe that Council should use this situation as a catalyst to increase the priority on physician recruitment.  The recent successful recruitment efforts in Goderich are an admirable model.
Elaine and I are willing to participate in any efforts to improve the accessibility to family physicians in Saugeen Shores.

Mark Brown