Recruiting new doctors

Success in recruiting and retaining physicians is crucial to the future health of Fort Frances, so it’s comforting to see town council and others finally waking up to the urgency of the problem.
True, this situation did not crop up overnight. The local physician recruitment and retention committee has been in place for years, and the town has offered financial incentives in the past in order to attract and keep doctors in our community.
But with two doctors having left Fort Frances, and two more slated to depart this year, it’s clear a more concerted effort is needed to turn things around. Dragging our feet now only will put more pressure on the remaining doctors to perhaps pull up stakes due to the subsequent heavier workload and higher share to operate the clinic.
Unfortunately, that may be easier said than done. Jim Neufeld, clinic administrator of the Wiebe Medical Centre in Winkler, Man., who addressed both the physician recruitment and retention committee and town council on Monday, suggested partnerships are the key to attracting doctors to a community—citing the success his city had once the Winkler and District Health Board was formed.
Sound advice, to be sure, except the local physician recruitment and retention committee already is made up of a cross-section of community partners, so one wonders what else can be done?
As well, Fort Frances already offers some first-class facilities needed to attract professional families to our community, including a major renovation currently ongoing at La Verendrye Hospital. And that’s not to mention the Eighth Street and Rocky Inlet ski trails, a proposed skateboard park and new library, as well as beautiful Rainy Lake and all it has to offer.
Yet this hasn’t alleviated the doctor shortage.
Inviting Mr. Neufeld here certainly was a helpful start—if only to hammer home the message that a crisis is in the making here. That, in turn, hopefully will spark renewed creativity and energy among all stakeholders when it comes to doctor recruitment.
Wishing the problem will solve itself isn’t the answer.