More groups to be asked to support doctor recruitment

Duane Hicks

District municipalities will be asked to help fund the recruitment and retention of physicians locally.
Coun. Wendy Brunetta, who sits on the Fort Frances Physician Recruitment and Retention Committee, said the committee is drafting letters to send to the Emo and Rainy River Health Centres—primarily due to the fact the committee also works to recruit doctors for those sites.
“So they are asking them to also pitch in to the budget as Fort Frances does,” Coun. Brunetta noted, pointing out the committee is aware the town is maintaining its current level of financial support this year ($68,000 plus a $1,000 contingency fund) but not increasing it.
The committee also will be sending a letter to the Riverside Foundation for Health Care requesting a one-time donation to be used for doctor recruitment.
As well, the committee will be sending letters to Norbord and New Gold outlining the process for contributing to doctor recruitment and retention efforts.
Once the committee receives a reply from Emo and Rainy River, it will send a letter to the Rainy River District Municipal Association asking more area municipalities to contribute.
Coun. Brunetta stressed the committee has had recent successes, but still is actively recruiting.
It is looking for two family practice physicians and one GP anesthetist.
“Our recruiter has some really good leads which he’s following up on,” she added.
At the request of the committee, town council passed a motion regarding initiatives for rural physicians at its regular meeting Monday night.
The motion states the municipality requests that the minister of Health and Long-term Care reinstate incentives for physicians to practice in rural areas of Ontario, and that the minister return to the table with Ontario’s doctors and work together through mediation or arbitration to reach a deal that protects the quality, patient-focused care Ontario’s families deserve.
The doctor recruitment committee also has formed a new subcommittee expressly for the purposes of amending its current physician incentives, noted Coun. Brunetta.
For example, the committee currently offers a return for two-year service agreement, where doctors are paid $60,000 upfront.
The committee is looking at doing it in quarterly payments to assist with cash flow.
It also is looking at charging locums rent when they come and stay at locum housing because the committee does keep those apartments and pay for them all year-round.
“That’s another way they’re looking at recouping money,” Coun. Brunetta said.
As well, the committee aims to apply to HealthForceOntario’s emergency department recruitment program.
“So once Dr. Ruppenstein and Dr. Patel are working regular shifts in the emergency department, they can actually qualify for some refund, which will go to the doctor recruitment committee,” Coun. Brunetta explained.