Local governments devise doctor recruitment plan

A draft Physician and Health Professional Recruitment Strategy for 100 Mile House was presented to the CRD Oct. 6

Al Richmond

Al Richmond

A draft Physician and Health Professional Recruitment Strategy for 100 Mile House was presented to the Cariboo Regional District (CRD) board at its Oct. 6 meeting.

CRD chair Al Richmond says a health professional recruitment and retention steering committee had spearheaded the project in the South Cariboo, including himself, 100 Mile House Mayor Mitch Campsall, Dr. Rod Dickey, Dr. Franky Mah and community member Diane Cober.

The committee was formed to work toward determining a process to assist doctors and other health professionals when they get here and provide something for them to do, Richmond explains.

“When we had a new doctor come to town [recently], we realized we didn’t have anything formalized for greeting them and looking after them.”

When Interior Health Authority (IHA) had the idea but no funding, Richmond adds, the board agreed to fund the study through the Cariboo-Chilcotin Regional Hospital District (CCRHD) budget.

About $15,000 was put toward the project, which also includes a separate strategy for Williams Lake, he notes.

The draft report was prepared by Thompson Rivers University students Melanie Reed and Nancy Wagner who presented it along with IHA health services administrator Catherine Whitman.

The students came up with a general stratagem they believed would work, including identifying a co-ordinator to recruit health professionals, improve local websites and attend functions with recruitment opportunities, such as sessions with university graduates.

The recommendation for having at least a part-time co-ordinator to try to attract physicians, nurses, technicians and other health-care professionals was a key point, Richmond says.

“When people come here from other countries, they’ll look at three or four communities, as our last doctor did, so it’s very important that when they come here, you make an impression.”

Those who come from further away often bring less with them when they come, he notes, so they may need furniture and other daily living supplies.

“The last doctor arrived with five kids, so we were struggling to find them accommodation, too.”

The board will now further review the strategy to determine what it might fund, and how to approach the issue in future, Richmond says.

“It identified some gaps for when [any relocating] people are even looking at the Cariboo as a community.”

This included pointing out some aspects that could be done to improve the websites of both the District of 100 Mile House and the CCRHD.

The November board meeting will look at the draft report further, but Richmond notes it hasn’t yet been formally adopted by IHA.