Chase not included in new physician recruitment drive
The B.C. government and the B.C Medical Association are offering doctors a $100,000 bonus to relocate to selected rural communities for three years.
The latest incentive is on top of a program to forgive student debt for doctors who will set up a medical practice outside urban areas, and other inducements to graduating and foreign doctors to venture outside large cities.
Health Minister Margaret MacDiarmid and BCMA president Dr. Shelley Ross announced the program Wednesday. Both said it was a difficult task picking the most needy locations, and expressed hope that it is successful and can be expanded.
In the Interior Health Authority, Princeton and Clearwater are funded for two general practitioners each, and Nakusp gets one. Cranbrook is funded for one anesthesiologist. Despite continual doctor shortages, Chase was not chosen for the program.
MacDiarmid, a family doctor in Rossland before going into politics, said these won’t be typical office-based medical practices. The GP positions will involve hospital and residential care, supported by a relief physician program so doctors can take some weekends and vacations.
Some involve “outreach” visits to even more remote communities, including aboriginal villages.
Eligible doctors will get $50,000 up front and the rest after one year, with repayment required if they don’t stay for three years.