Thursday, March 14, 2013

Incentive offerings for some in the Northwest, but not for the North Coast

The quest to lure doctors to the North Coast may have become just a little bit harder for Northern Health on the North Coast.

On Wednesday, the British Columbia Medical Association and Province of British Columbia outlined the nature of an incentive offering for Doctors that are willing to re-locate to such communities as Terrace and Kitimat.

The program will provide the Doctors with an initial 50,000 dollars when they begin working in one of the targeted communities and another 50,000 when they have completed their first year of service.

They must work at least three years in that community however, or refund the $100,000.

The interesting (and rewarding) approach to Doctor recruitment will seemingly end at the western end of the Terrace city limits, with no mention of Prince Rupert or Haida Gwaii on the list of 17 chosen rural communities for the incentive package. In total, Northern Health's delivery region makes up for 7 of the 17 selected communities.

Certainly a pro-active approach for the seven apparently under served communities, but for the other service areas of the Northern region it could make for some challenging situations.

It could make things rather interesting in our community for instance, if any of our current Doctors decide to move on to other locales (though they won't be eligible to take advantage of the incentive program by moving to one of the target communities). A situation that could leave Prince Rupert in having to compete with neighbouring communities which already have 100,000 dollars on the table as an incentive.

It doesn't take a math wizard to figure out that the incentive program could make the wait to fill any openings in Prince Rupert a long one.

No one wants to see a return to the days of long line ups at the Prince Rupert Regional Hospital, as local residents without Doctors waited for hours simply to refill a prescription.

While North Coast residents no doubt will be glad to see their neighbours enjoy the best in medical services, the prospect of an added obstacle to our own requirements won't be particularly welcome.

The project of bonus payments for some communities and nothing for others doesn't seem particularly equitable, nor will it do much to allay fears that the Ministry of Health and Northern Health are playing one community off against the other.

This could be one of those moments where a Mayor, a Councillor or even a candidate for the upcoming provincial election, might like to make a phone call and ask, what the hell?

CKPG TV-- New Incentive for Physicians (video)
Victoria Times Colonist-- B. C. doctors offered $100,000 to work in rural areas
Globe and Mail-- B. C. offers $100,000 to each doctor who takes job in one of 17 rural communities


CKNW Radio Host Bill Good examined the program on Thursday morning, discussion the incentive package with Dr. Shelley Ross of the BCMA, you can listen to the interview through the CKNW Audio Vault or their Podcast page, the interview took place from 8:45 to 9:00 AM

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