LEWISPORTE, NL – Representatives from Lewisporte are getting ready to head to the capital to make their case directly to medical students.
“Lewisporte is a beautiful town, we have a world class marina here and there are a number of things that we could offer doctors starting up here,” Mayor Betty Clarke told the Pilot April 10.
The town is working closely with Mike Pearce, a resident involved in attracting doctors to the region, on a package that showcases the benefits of settling in Lewisporte and includes incentives for doctors to start their practice here.
“The package would include a berth at the marina; passes to the municipal park, stadium, bowling alley, ski trails; and snow clearing in winter," Clarke said. "We hope to pay for their expenses to take a look at the clinic and tour of the town.”
The information package is scheduled to be completed within four weeks.
The shortage of doctors in Lewisporte forces over 350 people to travel outside the area to places such as Gander to get medical attention, according to Rev. Arthur Elliott, a representative of the Lewisporte Concerned Citizen’s Committee.
Elliott said Lewisporte serves 15 surrounding communities, a catchment area estimated at 16,000 people.
The new medical clinic is privately owned and operated and is not affiliated with the current family medical clinic, which has four physicians and is run by Central Health.
Lewisporte resident Carolyn Parsons Chaffey does not have a local doctor for herself and daughter. She said the last time her daughter was ill, they took her to the local clinic which has an after-hours operation. Fortunately, it was open.
“But then, that’s not open all the time," she said. "I guess we would have to go the emergency room in Gander or Grand Falls at night time.”
Parsons Chaffey is hopeful to have a local physician for herself and daughter when the positions in the new medical clinic are filled.
Residents feel frustrated and disappointed in the meantime.
“So, this new clinic was going to alleviate all of that and the committee worked so hard to get that into place and people were excited," said Parsons Chaffey. "But here we are, no physicians.”