It will be the luck of the draw that determines who gets in to the new family clinic in Yarmouth.
The Ocean View Family Practice is scheduled to open in March with three family doctors and one mentoring physician. It won't be a walk-in clinic; Patients will have to win a random draw.
"This is an attempt to experiment to see if we can solve a very long-standing problem in our district that's growing progressively worse as our current population of physicians begin to retire," said Blaise MacNeil, CEO of the South West Nova District Health Authority.
In a phone survey last fall, about 8,000 people in the district said they didn't have a family doctor. With no one to refill a prescription or check their blood pressure, many turned to busy emergency departments.
Usually it's up to doctors to advertise their practices and patients to phone to get in. But with so many residents without a family physician, health officials wanted to try a lottery to ensure a fair process at the Ocean View clinic.
This is what we get for not pursuing real choice and reform in health care: rationing schemes that make us equal only in our sufferings. What a way to pit people against each other, because you can be sure that someone who lost the draw will complain that their neighbour who won had an in with the health authority.
Tommy Douglas wept.