Physician shortages are being felt across Alberta, and other municipalities are stepping up recruitment efforts. Fort Macleod announced a $10,000 incentive for physicians to settle in their community, for at least five years, and last week Lethbridge City Council announced it would spend $15,000 on a marketing aimed at attracting doctors.
It’s a recruiting action, Diane MacNaughton, president of the Palliser Friends of Medicare, says Medicine Hat should consider before the shortage worsens.
“The City, they have to take a step forward. They can’t rely on AHS to do that,” she said.
MacNaughton said that aside from family doctors, the city is also short of psychiatrists, with four positions that have not been filled.
“Our town should put together a council and figure out what they should do, and we should be looking at a way to get the doctors to move here, and we should be looking at the doctor and all of his family and if a doctor is interested in move here, we should show them why they should move to Medicine Hat, you know our theaters, our shops, the Medicine Hat advantage,” she said.
When asked at Monday’s council meeting if recruiting doctors was something the city plans to address, members declined to comment, and the city did not respond to our request for comment. on time,
But Dr Prince is not convinced that municipalities should be tasked with finding a solution.
“I think every municipality in Alberta is asking how can we help our people get the services they need? And that really begs the question: Are you starting to have all the cities trying to find recruiting? Should the province be a little better? he said .
Prince believes the problem with recruiting doctors is the fact that there are no contracts for doctors in Alberta. This creates uncertainty, causing physicians to leave the province or choose not to settle in the province.
“I don’t think Medicine Hat is the problem. I think Alberta is the problem right now. So I think doctors need an agreement. They need certainty if they are looking to change their life. They want to know they are coming to a place where they are welcome and needed, and to be able to work in an environment that provides them with a fair income,” said Dr Prince.
In the meantime, as the doctor shortage continues, those without a family doctor can expect longer wait times at walk-in clinics and people scrambling to find care.