MAPLETON – The Mapleton-Minto Health Professional Recruitment Committee is facing a new challenge.
“It’s a new year, a new decade and we’re actually in active recruitment for a physician,” committee chair Shirley Borges told Mapleton council at the Jan. 14 meeting.
Noting local physicians are “basically at full capacity” Borges said there is “no room to grow in terms of our primary care services.
“This feels different for us this year because when we’ve recruited in the past it’s been for replacement of retiring physicians,” said Borges adding this time, “there are no retiring physicians. This is a brand new roster.
“So there’s some uncertainties that come with that … we also want to make sure that the physician we recruit is the right fit and that we have a patient roster with sufficient numbers.”
Borges along with recruiter Andrea Serratore and Dr. Christine Peterkin attended the meeting to provide council with an annual update on recruitment activities.
The delegation reported the Minto Rural Health Centre in Palmerston continues to provide modern, accessible medical office space for three physicians, as well as the Mapleton-Minto Family Health Team and other health service providers.
One pod remains available at the centre for a future physician recruit.
A written report notes that given the growing community in Mapleton, and the fact that the existing Mapleton Health Centre has reached full capacity, “planning has started with the Township of Mapleton and a developer to update space in Drayton for the physicians and Family Health Team.”
Councillor Paul Douglas asked Borges what she could share on the space issue at the Drayton facility.
“If you come to the centre you will notice that we’re full up. There is no space for other providers,” Borges replied.
“If we hope to recruit any physicians in the future we will be looking for new space,” she continued.
“We’re pretty creative so we might be able to try and swing something, but at the end of the day … it’s pretty tight upstairs and there’s very little room to maneuver and to shuffle.”
In terms of recruitment and retention efforts, the committee continues efforts to provide a rural training experience for medical trainees.
“Education is the key to solving the problem of recruitment and retention of rural physicians. We continue to concentrate our efforts on increasing medical resident training opportunities in our communities,” the report states.
“Medical residents are in their final years of training and are starting to look for places to live and work. They are also licensed physicians and, as such, are able to help provide care to our patients with the support and mentorship of our local physicians.”
Investments in recruitment marketing materials (booth displays/brochures/give-a-ways) targeting medical residents continue to pay off the report notes. The materials promote local communities as “a great place to live and work,” the report states. Giveaways were provided to Medical Residents at the McMaster Resident Career Fair in October and welcome packages including items supplied by local municipalities and the recruitment committee are given to medical residents when they begin a rotation with Dr. Peterkin.
Following the presentation, council passed a resolution to provide a $10,000 contribution toward the recruitment committee’s efforts, an amount which has become an annual contribution.
Borges noted the Palmerston and District Hospital matches the donations from Minto and Mapleton.