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New physician recruiter to get doctors for County residents

Adam Hambly

Action on family physician recruitment and retention takes a step forward with the announcement today of the hiring of Adam Hambly.

Hambly, a respiratory professional, is to draw on his skills and knowledge of both private and public sectors to develop a strategy that both brings new family physicians to the area and strives to retain those physicians currently practicing in the community.

“Adam’s experience developing programs and working closely with family physicians will ensure a smooth transition to this role,” said Dr. Anne Nancekievill, Lead Physician for the Prince Edward Family Health Team (PEFHT) Physician Recruitment and Retention. “The family physician shortage is one of the most pressing issues our community faces, and having a dedicated recruiter in place is an important step in addressing this challenge.”

Ahead of budget deliberations in February, Dr. Elizabeth Christie told council more than half of County residents could be without a doctor by 2024 unless the municipality took action on funding doctor recruitment while it awaited a long-term solution from the Ontario government to bring the municipality back into the fold for rural doctor incentive funding. Her presentation was a follow-up to a similar report in December from Dr. Nancekievill.

Five doctors are leaving this year, and another five, or more are retiring over 2023 to 2026. Currently, Dr. Christie stated, about one quarter of County residents are without a general practitioner.

“We started the year with 800 unattached patients, now (February) we have 1,750 unattached patients. By early July we’ll have almost 4,000 and by the end of October, 5,500-plus.” This, she added, is in stark contrast to the provincial average of seven per cent of the population without a family doctor.

Council allocated $150,000 in the 2022 budget to support attracting five new physicians over the next five years. The County offers a $100,000 incentive to physicians, which would be paid out over five years in return for a minimum of five years of service. An additional $50,000 goes to the Prince Edward Family Health Team as part of an agreement to support recruiting and marketing efforts.

“We are pleased and excited to now have a physician recruiter in place to support those efforts as we work to address this urgent need in our community,” said Mayor Steve Ferguson.

Currently, the central means of finding a family physician accepting new patients is visiting Health Care Connect or by calling 1.800.869.8828. This is a central service funded by the provincial government.

 

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