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Downtown doctors 'shocked' by upcoming closure of West Parkade

Letter to mayor says it will have a hugely detrimental affect on their patients and their practice in Old Quebec Street
20180419 west parkade ts
The West Parkade will close completely at the end of April until the fall. Tony Saxon/GuelphToday

A group of doctors in Old Quebec Street have written an open letter to Mayor Cam Guthrie to express outrage and concern over the closure of the West Parkade.

The parkade has been partially closed for several weeks. Recently the city announced that structural repairs are needed and at the end of April the parkade will completely close until the fall.

The doctors of Baker Street Medical say the closure will affect patients, their care and could impact other areas of the local medical community.

They want an access made available to the East Parkade and a shuttle provided from other parking lots.

"It is difficult to describe how shocked we are by this situation, it is simply unacceptable on numerous levels …. When the West Parkade closes, it will make parking nearly impossible for our patients,” says the letter to the mayor, a copy of which was sent to GuelphToday.

“Twelve thousand people access this office for their medical care and, for the most part, use the West Parkade. The current construction has severely limited access to parking, which has generated many complaints from patients who struggle to find parking in the downtown core and are often late for appointments as a result. The situation will worsen considerably when the Parkade is closed on April 30, 2018.”

The letter is signed by doctors Karen Alexopoulos, Monica Austin, Renee Beland, Joan Chan, Kyrie Little and Carol Thomson.

“We suggest, at the very least, access to the East Parkade, as well as a shuttle service that runs on a regular basis from other parking areas nearby to the building," it said.

None of the doctors were available for comment on Thursday.

“The ramifications will be far reaching, seniors, people with mobility issues and chronic health conditions, who require mental health support, and families with young children will all have great difficulty accessing the office, visits to the Guelph General Hospital Emergency Room will increase, adding strain to an already over-burdened system, patients may decide to access care in more convenient locations, disrupting continuity of care and increasing the likelihood of complications from treatment as a result of being seen in clinics that do not house their medical records.”

The clinic is also home to six physicians, a nurse practitioner, nurse clinician, mental health worker, dietitian, pharmacist and other staff.

The letter goes on to say that there may be patients who see no alternative but to transfer to other doctors, “which will sever therapeutic relationships that we have worked hard to build with our patients for up to 30 years and have a detrimental effect on our livelihood.”

The doctors say they were not given adequate notice of the closure.

“Our patients deserve and require better access to care than this. We need your assistance in addressing this urgently. We are deeply disappointed with the complete lack of alternative arrangements for our patients.”