We need a task force to help attract doctors to our community

LETTERS

Re: doctor recruitment.

Back in the day as a city councillor in Sudbury, Ontario I was Chair of the Health and Social Services Committee.

READ MORE: Doctors ask City of Campbell River for help with doctor shortage

One of our tasks was to attract and hold doctors and medical specialists. As you can appreciate, Sudbury did not have the geographical advantages that Campbell River has. We had a slogan “lets have doctors delivering babies not pizzas,” which was adopted around the province. Unfortunately, the gatekeepers wouldn’t allow doctors to come to our community unless they were able to complete a residency, but prevented an increase in residencies. In other words “a closed shop.”

So we decided to form a task force of doctors, hospital staff, city staff in planning, recreation and community representatives in finance and real estate, education staff and other professional workers such as pharmacists. We then took our show on the road to the Ontario Medical Association meetings and medical schools.

During our research we found an ophthalmologist who needed expensive medical equipment to complete his medical specialty. One of the banks agreed to loan the money if the city would guarantee it. The city council agreed as long as he stayed for five years. His clinic is still there and services the whole of Northern Ontario.

We were so successful that our approach was copied by other underserviced areas. Now, with the changing attitude of the medical training community, it should be much easier to attract needed medical professionals.

One would recall that earlier this century the active retiree group successfully adopted a policy to attract retirees to our community by a number of the above strategies. Now it is time to put a similar crew together to help attract health professionals to Campbell River.

Sterling Campbell

Campbell River

Campbell River

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