“I think it’s wonderful. There are so many people who have to travel a distance to have a family doctor,” said Anita Budden, a resident of Glace Bay.
“I hope the new doctor will take on patients who don’t have a doctor first, before adding those who want to switch doctors," she added, pointing out that there are many people in the community who don’t have a doctor and sometimes can’t even access the emergency room, as it is often closed.
Ronnie Turner, another local resident, also welcomed the news, adding there is a desperate need for doctors here, as many people don’t have one.
“My mother’s doctor is leaving, so she doesn’t have a doctor now and she needs one.”
Meanwhile, Yavari himself is also excited by the news.
Originally from Iran, he says that working as a doctor in Canada has been a lifelong dream for him.
All week, he's been tucked away inside his new office in the Ferguson's Pharmacy building organizing everything from paperwork to equipment for examination rooms in preparation for the opening of his practice on Monday.
"This is my first solo practice. I reached my goal, to come to Canada and then to be a physician in Canada. It was a lot of hard work, and now it’s my honour to be here," he said.
"Being a doctor in Canada is a dream come true for me."
Yavari says he has sheets with hundreds of names of people looking for a doctor.
“We are getting a lot of calls,” he said, explaining many are names of people with no doctor, names referred to him from the Glace Bay and Cape Breton regional hospitals, and names referred to him from local pharmacies.
“We are also getting calls from patients who heard their family physician is leaving in a couple of months so are looking to find a new physician for themselves.”
Yavari said patients will start getting calls this week to set up appointments, prioritizing patients with the most urgent needs and those who are sick and seniors.
"We are asking people to be patient, we will get to them."
Yavari practiced medicine in Iran for 12 years before coming to Canada.
He said in developed countries like Canada, the health-care system is more patient-centred and that usually doctors have enough time, resources and support from the health authorities to address the patient’s issues.
"If a patient cannot afford some pills or medication, I can call the social agency, the health authority or support groups, there is enough resources in the community I can help the patients."
Yavari said he wanted to be part of a patient-centred practice, which is why he worked so hard to come to Canada.
“Here in Canada doctors offer advice, encourage, consult and comfort but at the end of the day it’s the patient’s decision. We actively involve the patient into the management and that’s what I want to be part of.”
He said across the globe it is known Canada is the toughest place for physicians wanting to relocate.
Yavari was recruited in Nova Scotia through the Clinician Assessment for Practice program, one of the many methods the province is using to attract more doctors to the province. The program allows a practising physician trained in another country — whose credentials don't actually fit — to become licensed and to become a family doctor if they follow the pathway.
Yavari has a friend living in Halifax who urged him to come to Nova Scotia.
"He said especially if you go northeast you wouldn’t never ever go back home."
About two months ago, officials with the college and from the provincial Department of Health and Wellness arranged for some site visits for himself and other doctors.
The doctors were given a choice of whether to go northeast or southwest. He said the trip included Truro, New Glasgow and Cape Breton.
"When I came here I liked the area, I liked the people. I like the health authority staff, those in charge and especially Dr. (Rex) Dunn.”
Dunn is the Cape Breton District Health Authority's vice-president of medicine and chief of staff.
Although Glace Bay has a new doctor, the health authority has confirmed the community is also losing a doctor, as Dr. S. Fairfield has indicated to patients she will be leaving.
Dr. Yavari's office is located at 35 Sterling Rd.