For two weeks I was Fogo Island’s only doctor

Two weeks later at home, I called up Fogo Island’s mayor, Andrew Shea, to learn how things were going. “Since you left, we’ve had two days with a doctor. That’s it — we’ve had no other doctor,” he said.

Instead of seeing a doctor, Fogo Islanders either have to leave the island or access Health Hubs — the region’s virtual-care solution for those without a family doctor. According to Central Health, the regional health authority to which Fogo belongs, the phone service is staffed seven days a week by physicians in Gander and Grand Falls-Windsor.

However, Shea criticizes the Health Hubs as inadequate to address the current gaps in care.

“So they only book one week [at a time] and it gets blocked up within the first 20 minutes. If you don’t get in, they won’t take an appointment for the next week. You’ve got to phone in Monday morning the following week and then, possibly, it’ll be blocked up again before you get through,” he says.

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