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NEWS

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Gov’t hopes money will attract doctors THE PROVINCIAL government hopes $100,000 will be enough to attract an anesthesiologist here. The incentive is part of a $2 million package to attract 20 general practitioners or family physicians to more rural and remote areas around the province. In the case of the anesthesiologist position here, it was identified as a vacancy that needed to be filled, says Dr. Shelley Ross, the president of the B.C. Medical Association which helped decide where the incentives should be used. The decisions were also based on the degree of difficulty being experienced in filling the positions, she said. “And $100,000 is a pretty nice incentive,” Ross added. A anesthesiologist who comes to Terrace will receive $50,000 up front and the rest after one year and must stay three years. Repayment required if they leave before the three years are up. “We find that the three years is a critical time,” said Ross. “If they stay for the three years we then hope the spouse will have a job, the kids will be in school and they’ll want to stay even longer.” As it is, the province already spends heavily on attracting general practitioners and specialists to more rural and remote locations. Physicians coming to Terrace or to other rural and remote places receive $15,000 for relocation

assistance and $20,000 as a recruitment incentive. They also receive a $17,136 flat fee retention payment and a retention premium of 19.6 per cent. In the meantime, efforts continue to fill five other vacancies in Terrace. Still needed are two family physicians, a dermatologist, a combined general practitioner/ anesthesiologist and an internal medicine specialist. “We’re optimistic. We’ve seen some interest in a few of the posted positions, but because there are many steps to the recruitment process (determining eligibility for incentives, is one example), it would be premature to speculate when the positions could actually be filled,” said Northern Health Authority official Eryn Collins. Terrace once had as many as two resident internal medicine specialists. That’s no longer the case and the service is being provided by a rotating pool of specialists. A successful recruitment effort last year resulted in the arrival of an ear, nose and throat specialist. Another Northern Health Care official, Steve Raper, said Terrace is generally well-served when it comes to general practitioners and specialists. “You have a fairly stable medical community here,” said Raper. “You have very strong practitioners who are good at re-

cruiting.” One benefit is having two physicians in Terrace who don’t have regular practices but will fill in when required, he added. It can be a different story in smaller northern locations where it can be difficult to gather together enough physicians in one place to spell each other off. Elsewhere in the north, Raper said the benefits of basing a medical school in Prince George through the Northern Health Authority in conjunction with the University of Northern BC as an outreach of the University of BC medical school is starting to pay off. None of the graduates so far have elected to work in Terrace but Raper says the Northern Medical Program is based on the philosophy that people who are trained in the north will want to stay in the north. “First and foremost we would want these people to stay in the north. And even if they don’t, and they go to practice in places such as Golden and Oliver then the fact they are going to rural and remote communities is a good sign,” he said. As it is, Mills Memorial Hospital hosts both medical students and residents who are medical school graduates honing their skills under the supervision of a licensed physician. There are now three medical students at Mills and four residents.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013  Terrace Standard

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Terrace Standard, April 10, 2013  
Terrace Standard, April 10, 2013  

April 10, 2013 edition of the Terrace Standard