Elk Point’s Dr. Drew Ramful is postponing his retirement for a few months in order to ensure there is a continuity of care for his patients.
In October, Dr. Ramful announced plans to retire at the end of 2020. At the time, Alberta Health Services did not yet have a doctor lined up to take over his family medicine clinic in Elk Point.
According to Dr. Ramful, that is no longer the case and there is a foreign trained physician coming in the spring.
“For foreign graduates, there’s a little process they have to go through for the College of Physicians in Alberta to certify them capable of practicing. And that takes a little bit of time, it takes three or four months. So when the new doctor is ready, then I will pass everything off to the new doctor,” said Ramful.
“My main concern is not to leave any patient inconvenienced that they have to go and look for another doctor themselves. Hopefully, I’ll take care of that and make sure the transition goes smoothly,” said Ramful.
He said once the new doctor is certified, he will stick around for another month or two until the new doctor feels comfortable taking over completely.
Until then, Ramful will be working three days a week in his office and offering virtual visits to patients on other days. He said the virtual visits will be very simple to access – patients will be e-mailed a link and when it is time for the appointment all they need to do is click the link to connect.
Asked if there had been any progress with AHS regarding the push for an increase in the number of physicians in Elk Point, Ramful said it’s an ongoing process that is underway.
“They are looking at hopefully having four doctors in Elk Point eventually. But again, the process is slow. In St. Paul and in Bonnyville they are also short of doctors right now.
“For the immediate future, there’s a little sort of struggle between the different towns to recruit the doctors that they need. Hopefully, we’ll overcome that hurdle in the near future and every town will be well supplied with doctors,” said Ramful.