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Sudbury celebrates Doctors Day

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The City of Greater Sudbury honoured Doctors Day at City Hall on Monday.

While rain delayed the traditional flag-raising ceremony, Deputy Mayor Joscelyne Landry-Altmann read the proclamation.

“Given what we’ve been through in the past three years, it goes without saying that it is important to highlight the talent and resources we have in this city,” Landry-Altmann said.

“Anything we can do to bring that to the forefront and support them and say thank you, is so important.”

The annual day is celebrated provincially in honour of Emily Stowe, Canada’s first practising female physician. It is celebrated May 1 to commemorate Stowe’s birthday.

Landmarks like the CN Tower and Niagara Falls will be lit up blue to celebrate the day.

Dr. Rayudu Koka, chair of the Ontario Medical Association and psychiatrist at Health Sciences North, said doctors and health-care professionals have faced a great deal of pressure in the last three years, compounded by a doctor shortage across the province.

“There are one million people without a family physician,” Koka said.

“We are advocating for that. We want to try and prevent burnout from the existing physicians and we want to recruit more doctors, as well.”

Dr. Terence Mihowich, a psychiatrist at HSN, said he was drawn to the profession initially because it combined two of his interests.

“What drew me into medicine was using my abilities in terms of the sciences and humanities in terms of psychiatry, so using those skills I have to serve others,” he said.

“I think I couldn’t imagine myself doing anything else.”

Mihowich said, apart from the doctor shortage, there were other adjustments that had to be made during the last three years.

“Less face-to-face, more video conference appointments, that was a rather large adjustment,” he said.

Dr. Rajendar Kumar has been a doctor for 45 years and currently works at HSN as a psychiatrist. He said the pandemic brought mental health and addictions to the forefront, causing a four-month waitlist for individuals looking for mental-health care.

“In addition to increased mental health, depression and anxiety issues, it has also exacerbated drug abuse issues, because people were holed up during these three years of the pandemic, they were confined indoors and that led to more drug use as well,” he said.

Koka said admission rates for mental health services has increased.

“Demand for mental health and addictions is much more and continues to be growing, and we hope we get more services available,” he said. 

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