Physician shortage for opioid substitution therapies hitting crisis point: NDP

The NDP is calling for a plan to address a physician shortage for opioid substitution therapies in Regina. Two doctors who previously handled the 700-patient caseload are no longer offering services, and a lone physician has been hired to fill this gap.

“This is a crisis that needs immediate attention,” said NDP Mental Health and Addictions Critic Danielle Chartier. “Those who are trying to manage their opioid use disorders will face significant wait times to get the needed care.”

Health officials confirmed to Chartier earlier this week that two physicians who provide opioid substitution therapies will no longer be doing so, leaving 700 patients without an addictions physician. Chartier also learned that the lone physician hired to fill this gap is also responsible for recruitment, on top of her other duties.

“It’s the responsibility of the government to have a plan in place, but the current set-up is a recipe for disaster,” said Chartier. “We know that the consequences are dire when individuals can’t access timely support. There’s a significant risk of relapse when treatment isn’t available — this is people’s lives in the balance.”