The allure of the Lower Mainland is one factor keeping doctors from choosing to locate in rural communities like Sicamous – and Kelowna.
District of Sicamous council recently received an update on the ongoing doctor hunt by Phil Martin of Global Medics Ltd.
In March of this year, the district contracted Global Medics to seek out two doctors for the Sicamous Medical Clinic. Council budgeted $30,000 to cover Global Medics’ recruitment costs. While Global Medics is working with doctors seeking positions in B.C., Martin says most, if not all, are choosing to locate in Vancouver or on Vancouver Island.
Doctors are concerned rural communities won’t have the job opportunities for spouses, or it’s a family decision where the partner and/or kids are not wanting “to be too rural.” Martin notes their definition of rural can include urban centres such as Kelowna.
“I think it’s just a different understanding, but please know we’re doing all we can to educate them on the fantastic living, high quality of life and beautiful surroundings when you live and work in some of the smaller communities in Canada,” writes Martin.
Under its recruitment contract with the district, Global Medics will be paid $15,000 plus taxes per doctor, half of which is paid when one is found and the other, if and when they start work. If the doctor decides not to locate in Sicamous, the district’s money is reimbursed.
To improve its odds of attracting doctors, the district has also agreed to make available the following “physician recruitment lifestyle incentives: year 1: $500/month; year 2: $300/month; year 3: $200/month. For transportation: year 1: $250/month; year 2: $150/month: year 3: $100/month.
Regarding Global Medics’ costs, Columbia Shuswap Regional District Area E director Rhona Martin has suggested funding could be provided through the CSRD Economic Opportunity Fund.
“The CSRD and Rhona would be more than happy to support us on that…,” commented Mayor Terry Rysz. “Malakwa is just as concerned about us having doctors as Sicamous.”