Busy clinic in Milton Park shuts down, leaving thousands without a family doc

Doctors

About 12,000 people will now have to find new family doctors after a popular medical clinic in Montreal's Milton Park neighborhood shut down abruptly late last month.

The La Cité medical clinic, in the sprawling Park Ave. apartment complex of the same name, was apparently forced to close after half of the family docs on duty retired.

Finding replacements for those doctors, meanwhile, is being complicated by the fact that Quebec's health ministry isn't allocating enough permits — known as PREMs — for doctors to practice in Montreal.

A spokesperson for the Quebec health ministry says the PREM system exists to ensuring there are enough doctors working in the province's regions, but Dr. Zach Levine, an emergency room doctor at the McGill University Health Centre, told CJAD 800's Elias Makos, says this kind of a system doesn't exist in other provinces.

"As far as I know, no other province has a system like this," Dr. Levine says. "If a hospital, for example, in Penetanguishine, Ont. has a need for a doctor, and you're a doctor that's willing to work there, then it's a match. It's a match made in heaven. Here, if the hospital wants you, and you want the hospital, but you don't have a PREM to work in that region, and the hospital [doesn't have authorization] to hire you, then you're not working there."

Aside from the closure of the La Cité clinic, the Milton Park neighborhood — also known as the McGill Ghetto — has dealt with the loss of the old Royal Victoria and Hotel-Dieu hospitals in recent years.