Doctors wanted in the Shuswap

Doctors wanted in the Shuswap

District of Sicamous effort may soon pay off

One Shuswap community’s efforts to attract doctors may soon be pay off.

District of Sicamous councillor, Malcolm Makayev, is cautiously optimistic when he explains a number of discussions are currently underway with medical professionals who have expressed an interest in relocating to the community.

“I can say we are in discussions with one doctor from Saskatchewan that has visited our community on a couple of occasions and has expressed interest in practicing in our community,” said Makayev. “And we’re also in discussions with a younger female doctor from the Lower Mainland that has also visited… and is interested in practicing in our community.

“We’ve also had an expression of interest, or somebody who has called expressing some interest from Ontario, who has some family ties in the local community who is also interested in maybe practicing in Sicamous.”

Makayev believes Sicamous could easily support up to three doctors, adding the Saskatchewan doctor’s partner is a nurse practitioner, which would also be a good fit.

“In my opinion, the ideal scenario for Sicamous would be two doctors and a nurse practitioner, and our community could support that easily,” said Makayev.

For several years now, Sicamous has been part of an regional effort to attract doctors. The district has been able to stand out, however, by being able to offer different incentives.

“We have what we like to call a ‘lifestyle incentive’ to help as a recruitment tool to bring doctors to practice in Sicamous,” said Makayev. “We’re a resort community – it’s not hard to sell our lifestyle.”

The District of Sicamous recently purchased the medical and dental building at 217 Finlayson, further showing its commitment to the provision of community health and wellness.

“As owners of the building the medical clinic is a tenant in, that does give us another tool in our toolbox to help in our recruitment, to show potential doctors we are serious about health care in our community,” said Makayev.

Where Sicamous has a municipal council stepping up to attract doctors, elsewhere in the Shuswap that work is being done by community groups – with varying degrees of success. For example, the Sorrento and Area Community Health Centre – a community-run facility – currently has a nurse practitioner employed by Interior Health. The centre’s chair, Marilyn Clark, says the care provided by the NP is excellent, but adds the area’s population of approximately 8,000 could benefit from having a full-time doctor.

“As a general statement, rural communities have more difficulty recruiting physicians than urban communities,” said Clark. “We had a doctor here for 35 years who raised his family here, had a very good practice, so it’s possible to have a very good practice in this community. But he retired. And when he retired he was able to attract a physician who was from South Africa via the UK, who came and took over his practice. And about a year and a half later… he moved to Salmon Arm.”

Clark said various efforts have been made by the centre to acquire doctors, including a recent application for an international medical graduate (Canadian citizens who studied outside of the country) who would do a two-year return of service in Sorrento.

“There was three from Kamloops and we thought we might get one of them because there was only two opportunities for placement after their residency in Kamloops…,” Clark explained. “At the very last minute, Interior Health added another location in Kamloops. So the three that were in Kamloops stayed in Kamloops. It was so last-minute-ish and we really felt we’d been kicked in the butt.”

Clark suggests if the centre were an Interior Health-run facility, it might have more success at acquiring a physician.

“It’s something we may have to consider,” said Clark. “We’ve taken great pride in how well the health centre has operated and how the community has pulled together to support it. it’s truly a community facility. So we would have to make a bid decision about whether or not we would want to ask IH if they would want to be entrusted in taking it on. We haven’t done that, we haven’t even talked about that.”

In nearby Blind Bay, the South Shuswap Health Services Society (SSHSS) has been busy with its own community-driven recruitment effort.

“We need physicians, community care, public health nurses, we need to have full care available to our communities,” said SSHSS director Sue McCrae.

Like Sorrento, the SSHSS has a facility but no existing practice.

“Therefore, (doctors) are building their practice and that makes a difference,” said McCrae.

Though the SSHSS has met with physicians, they too have yet to find one for whom the South Shuswap is the right fit.

“It is discouraging but we’re not giving up,” said McCrae. “We’re going to keep going, we’re going to keep trying. We’ve got two examination rooms almost ready to go for physicians and those have been done with a lot of hard work from within the community and the support of the community. So when one comes, then we’ll be almost ready for them. And I think that that’s a lot of the incentive, is that we are going to be ready to help them, we have volunteers that will be ready to step in and help.”


@SalmonArm
lachlan@saobserver.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Salmon Arm City Hall is closing between noon and 2 p.m. effective April 12, 2021. (File photo)
Pandemic precautions change hours at Salmon Arm city hall

Public will still be able to access services online during two hours when facility closed

A syringe is loaded with COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Interior Health announces 89 cases of COVID-19 in the region

Currently, there are 900 active cases in the region

The Red Pill Rapper performs to the crowd gathered for the Rally For Food Security at Blackburn Park on Saturday, April 10, 2021. (Kristal Burgess Photography)
The Red Pill Rapper performs to the crowd gathered for the Rally For Food Security at Blackburn Park on Saturday, April 10, 2021. (Kristal Burgess Photography)
Suspicion of ‘fake news media’ makes rally uncomfortable for Salmon Arm event photographer

More than 300 people counted at city park for ‘Rally For Food Security’

B.C. wineries are open for indoor tasting despite new provincial health regulations. Photo- 
50th Parallel Winery, Instagram.
Indoor wine tastings still allowed in B.C., not considered a ‘social gathering’

“Tasting is really just part of the retail experience. The analogy I use is you wouldn’t buy a pair of pants without trying them on.”

Scotch Creek residents on the Saratoga water system will be without water for most of April 14 as the Columbia Shuswap Regional works on water system upgrades. (File photo)
Water system shutdown planned for Scotch Creek

Residents on Saratoga system encouraged to store water in case shutdown is longer than expected

Burnaby MLA Raj Chouhan presides as Speaker of the B.C. legislature, which opened it spring session April 12 with a speech from the throne. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C. NDP promises more health care spending, business support in 2021 budget

John Horgan government to ‘carefully return to balanced budgets’

A five-storey, 60-unit building has been proposed for 8709 Jubilee Rd. E., Summerland. The proposal will be the subject of a public hearing on March 22. (Image by GTA Architecture)
Zoning, OCP amendments adopted for Summerland housing development

Council gives final readings for controversial five-storey, 60-unit housing development

A youth was arrested following a car crash on Wallace Street on Saturday, April 10. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)
Onlookers laugh and jeer as B.C. teen beaten, then forced to strip and walk home

Police arrest older teen, call video shared on social media ‘disturbing’

A lady wears a sticker given out after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count slows after last week’s peak

3,219 new cases since Friday, 18 additional deaths

North Cowichan councillor Tek Manhas did not violate the municipality’s code of conduct by posting a sexist meme on Facebook, council concludes. (File photo)
B.C. municipality to take no action against councillor who posted sexist meme

Tek Manhas’s meme doesn’t violate North Cowichan council’s code of conduct, municipality concludes

The former Summerland Asset Development Initiative building on Prairie Valley Road in Summerland was suggested as the site for a temporary transitional housing facility for the community. However, Summerland council has rejected this proposal. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
Summerland council rejects transitional housing facility

Concerns raised about short timeline and condition of municipally-owned building

Shayla, an 8-pound black and grey Havanese, was stolen from outside a store on Banks Road on Saturday. (Contributed)
Stolen pup located, Kelowna RCMP confirms

Mounties said on April 12 that Shayla, the 8-pound, black and grey Havanese dog, has been located safe and sound

Penticton Vees continue their winning streak carrying a 5-0 win title as of Sunday night's hockey action. (Cherie Morgan/Cherie Morgan Photography)
Penticton Vees continue winning streak

Sunday night’s 6-1 win has them with five in a row since the start of the season

Most Read