Re: Doctor shortage highlighted (The NEWS, Feb. 25).
Anna Grieve and Mark Morris are both right. We certainly need a vibrant community interested in recruiting to attract new family doctors. Doctors looking to settle are usually either immigrants needing to decide as part of their licensing process or new grads doing locums. They are concerned about the community they will live and work in, but also their debt.
Don’t describe the community as vibrant or family centred or having great outdoor activities, everyone does. Show it. Nothing shows vibrancy like passionate people putting effort into it as organized volunteers. They can work with recruiters and be flexible in catering to a person’s or couple’s needs, like spousal employment. Treat locums well and make sure the group contacts them, too.
But that vibrant passionate group would also need to do some fundraising or politicking. Doctors coming here for family practice aren’t primarily interested in money; they know geriatrics and chronic care don’t pay very well and generate two-four hours of unpaid paperwork every evening. But unless they are replacing a doctor with excellent documentation who truly wants to retire, they may be facing a year or two in which they fear just making their debt payments.
Conducting and documenting a new patient visit to regulatory standards on most people over 50 is a big task, for an average $30 after overhead, same as any visit. Usually so much else is happening that it’s not until a third or fourth visit that it is complete and efficiency can be expected.
Please note this would not be for me. Also I don’t suggest continuing financial help beyond a retention bonus at two or three years, otherwise it could breed resentment.
Bridget Reidy, MD CCFPLasqueti