Funding request approvedTuesday, March 05, 2013 by: Darren Taylor
As expected, City Council approved a funding request Monday from Sault Ste. Marie’s Physician Recruitment and Retention Office to support its ongoing mission to attract medical professionals to our community.
Council voted in favour of giving $464,850 from the City’s Hospital Development Reserve Fund to Physician Recruitment and Retention for its 2013-2014 operating budget.
Sault Area Hospital (SAH) and Group Health Centre (GHC) will also each contribute $100,000 in funding for the Physician Recruitment and Retention Office.
2012-2013 was a good year for doctor recruitment, as 13 physicians set up practice in the community, five of them in Family Medicine.
2011-2012 was Physician Recruitment and Retention’s most successful year, with 14 physicians recruited, 10 in Family Medicine.
The group is planning to be in attendance at a number of recruitment events this year, most of them in Southern Ontario centres.
City Councillor Steve Butland asked Physician Recruitment and Retention’s Manager Christine Pagnucco if competition remains fierce among communities in regards to physician recruitment.
Pagnucco said that at a recent recruiting event, 40 communities from B.C. to P.E.I. were vying for commitments from doctors to practice in their localities.
“Competition is still there,” Pagnucco said, “but we have laid out the groundwork. We’re getting better at what we do.”
Pagnucco added there is now a much smoother process in place for allowing foreign-trained physicians to locate here, pointing out one physician from Ireland has recently set up shop in Sault Ste. Marie.
$370,000 of the group’s operating costs would go towards recruitment incentives and costs.
Salaries and benefits would take up another $138,000, site visits to showcase Sault Ste. Marie to doctors would account for $33,000, while another $30,000 would be spent on retention activities and initiatives.
A report to Council states that as a result of recent recruitment efforts, there are verbal commitments to practice medicine in Sault Ste. Marie from three psychiatrists, an oncologist and an ophthalmology resident. The Office is also awaiting decisions regarding practice locations from a general internist and family physician.
The report to Council states that while 85 full-time physicians have been recruited since Physician Recruitment and Retention’s efforts began in 2002, the group continues its’ efforts to recruit and retain medical professionals in the community, keeping in mind many local doctors are approaching retirement.