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Dr. Rowan leaving Petawawa health centre for PRH 0

Dr. Declan Rowan will be closing his family practice at the Petawawa Centennial Family Health Centre on Oct. 2, 2009.

In a letter to his patients he explained his reasons for leaving were entirely personal.

The Daily Observer left a message at the health centre asking Dr. Rowan to contact the paper to discuss the departure, but the call was not returned.

Debbie Robinson, chairwoman of the Upper Ottawa Valley Medical Recruitment Committee, believes that Dr. Rowan had about 2,000 patients under his care that are now orphaned.

The closure of his practice leaves one full-time family physician at the Petawawa health centre.

A phone message at the centre states that Dr. Rowan's patients concerned about prescription refills should notify their pharmacy and get them to fax the health centre. The message said that Dr. Rowan will do his best to assist patients to get their refills before his departure.

While leaving the health centre, Dr. Rowan will not be leaving the Upper Ottawa Valley. He has decided instead to expand his role at the Pembroke Regional Hospital by working as a hospitalist and in the Emergency Department. He has had privileges at the hospital since he moved here in October 2006, looking after in-patients, assisting at surgeries and more recently working in the Emergency Department.

Hospitalists at PRH are doctors who treat admitted patients who either have no family physician or have a family physician who does not have hospital privileges.

"These men and women are crucial to the smooth operation of the Hospital where a large portion of the population who arrive at our doors do not have a family doctor to care for them," said Pierre Noel, PRH President and CEO.

Acknowledging that Dr. Rowan's decision has added to the number of unattached patients in need of a family doctor, Debbie Robinson, chairwoman of the Upper Ottawa Valley Medical Recruitment Committee, explained that keeping Dr. Rowan in the community was much better than the alternative.

"While we have lost another community-based family doctor, we haven't lost the physician," she said. "The committee and our recruiter Jenn Mackay are busy trying to find family doctors for the thousands of people without one."

"We are driven by a desire to help these people and improve their quality of life," Ms. Robinson added. "The Petawawa Centennial Family Health Centre is a magnificent facility, and we are contacting a number of physicians, encouraging them to visit the centre."

This past month alone, the recruitment committee met with three family doctors who will be eligible to practice within the next 12 months. As part of their visit to the area, they visited Petawawa as well as Pembroke, Cobden, Eganville and Pikwakanagan.

"It is a matter of having the right practice model for individual physicians," Ms. Robinson said. "That is why the Family Health Team in Petawawa and the new funding being sought by the West Champlain Healthy Community Corporation are so important."

"All three of these physicians want the Family Health Team model and are waiting to see what the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care decision will be," she If the funding is granted it won't guarantee these physicians will come here, but it definitely removes one of the barriers to them choosing our area."

A phone message at the centre asks patients of Dr. Rowan to call and register with Health Care Connect in mid-October.

The Upper Ottawa Valley Medical Recruitment Committee also maintains an orphan patient list. As of mid-July, there was about 3,500 names on that list.

To get on the list, fill out a form that is available at the offices of municipalities within the committee's catchment area, the Renfrew County and District Health Unit, the Champlain Community Care Access Centre, the Pembroke Lakeside Medical Walk-in Clinic, the Lorrain Ambulatory Clinics, the Pembroke Chamber of Commerce Information office, major pharmacies in the catchment area and on line at www.theottawavalley.com/physicianwaitlist/.

Interested persons can mail their completed form to The Upper Ottawa Valley Medical Recruitment Committee, Family Physician Wait List Form, P. O. BOX 641 Pembroke, ON K8A 6X9.


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