The city Williams Lake will administer a program to retain medical professionals, woo locums. (Black Press media file photo)

The city Williams Lake will administer a program to retain medical professionals, woo locums. (Black Press media file photo)

New program aims to retain, welcome medical professionals to Williams Lake, 100 Mile House

The city of Williams Lake will administer the contract, funded by the CCHRD

Williams Lake’s economic development officer is hopeful a new program the city is spearheading will attract health care professionals to stay or locum in Williams Lake and 100 Mile House.

The Cariboo Chilcotin Regional Hospital District will provide funds to hire a landing and retention co-ordinator to welcome new medical professionals and funds to pay for locum housing and some travel expenses, said Beth Veenkamp.

“We’ve kind of copied the Quesnel model, but the unique thing that is going on is the city [of Williams Lake] is going to administer it for 100 Mile House and Williams Lake.”

Funding is included to cover three rental units – one in 100 Mile House and two in Williams Lake – at a rate of $2,450 a month that are always ready and available.

“Housing is always difficult and a scramble and I said the only way we could do this was if we had enough money so we could secure something because we can’t be running around looking for housing.”

Travel money will be available for locums through the program as well as the cost of welcoming supplies such as flower baskets, printed materials, lunch and coffee meetings.

In the near future the city will advertise the position which will pay $40 an hour for 25 hours a week.

Veenkamp said cities in the Cariboo compete for locums against other parts of the province and the city has raised the issue with Interior Health.

“Locums are going to go where they make the best money and have the least amount of expenses and if we cannot provide accommodation expenses for locums we’re just not getting them. The CCRHD was really feeling that pinch in not being able to provide incentives for locums.”

READ MORE: Cariboo Regional District Hospital board lobbies for locum funding

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As part of the agreement for the contract, which will be signed by Mayor Walt Cobb on behalf of the city, the contractor will provide updates two times in a year with information on activities and associated expenditures to the CCRHD.

As well, a written summary of outputs and incomes must also be provided on an annual basis, no later than Feb. 28 of the following year.

100 Mile HouseDoctorsWilliams Lake