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Head of medical association calling for better access to family doctors

Last Updated Feb 22, 2021 at 8:46 am MST


OTTAWA – The head of the Canadian Medical Association is urging the federal government to boost access to family doctors for long-haulers enduring ongoing illness after being infected with COVID-19.

Dr. Ann Collins said people struggling with persistent symptoms need a physician to manage their care and make referrals to specialists.

The medical association submitted a pre-budget request to the federal government for improved access to care early last year but the budget was cancelled after the pandemic hit and hasn’t been scheduled yet for this year.

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Shane Kinniburgh of Woodstock, Ontario, said he, his three-year-old daughter and his fiancee were infected with COVID-19.

He said he’s got the worst of the ongoing symptoms including a blockage in his heart, intense sensitivity to light and brain fog.

He said not having a family doctor means he’s dependent on a walk-in clinic but no single primary care provider has a full understanding of his condition.

Health Canada did not provide information on any funding to expand family practice initiatives related to COVID-19 but said a recent funding agreement to restart the provincial and territorial economies included a promise of $700 million to support measures like testing and contact tracing.