Montreal, March 20, 2012 – A study conducted by Dr. Jane McCusker, Principal Scientist at St. Mary’s Research Centre, to be published in the April 3 issue of the “Canadian Medical Association Journal”, concludes that people who are not affiliated with a regular care provider or primary physician are more likely to end up in an emergency department in order to see a doctor.

The study also shows that people who are 65 years and older and people with chronic health problems benefit the most from having a family doctor. People who have annual checkups with their family doctors are less likely to use emergency departments than people who don’t have checkups. These results show how limited access to family doctors in Quebec results in increased pressure on emergency departments.

“Because the Quebec population has limited access to family doctors, we must make sure that people who need to see one can effectively do so. Since older people and people with chronic health problems are more difficult to treat, a short term solution would be to create incentives for family doctors and Family Medicine Groups to take care of these types of patients. In the long term however, the most efficient solution would be to increase the number of family doctors and to facilitate access to their care” says Dr. McCusker.

The study “Factors predicting patient use of the emergency department: a retrospective cohort study” was funded by the Fonds de recherche du Québec – Santé (FRQS).

For more details about this study, click on the following link:

St. Mary’s Hospital Center (SMHC) is a university affiliated, community hospital which serves a multicultural population. It seeks to provide the highest level of safe patient and family focused care. St. Mary’s is an integral part of the Réseau universitaire intégré de santé (RUIS) McGill. For more information, visit

For the story as featured in the Montreal Gazette, visit

For more information, contact:

Alex Fretier, Information Officer, or

Seeta Ramdass, Director of Communications & Public Relations, St. Mary’s Hospital Center

514 734-2665



March 22, 2012