Manitoulin Isl. physician recruitment sub-committee proving to be successful

MINDEMOYA—The Manitoulin Physician Recruitment Sub-committee (MPRSC) (a participant within the Huron North recruitment shared services) has proven to be a successful program, one that a participating municipality, Central Manitoulin, will again be supporting financially again this year.

At a Central Manitoulin council meeting last week, council considered a recommendation from its safety, security and health committee, “that we recommend to council to earmark and flow the same contribution amount that was provided last year, to the Manitoulin Physician Recruitment Sub-Committee.”

“We have a copy of the letter that indicates we provided funding in the amount of $6,000 last year,” said Richard Stephens, Central Manitoulin mayor. “It is interesting to read the letter from Mr. (Derek) Graham. This has proven to be a successful program and working with our friends on the North Shore it has proven to be cost effective.”

Derek Graham, president and CEO of the Manitoulin Health Centre (MHC) and chair of the (MPRSC), informed council in a letter dated October 25, 2017, “I am reaching out to provide an update, to thank participating sponsors, and to request consideration for support of new community partners.”

“We all need access to health care, and we all use health care resources, regardless of where we live across the Island. Access to care within a reasonable distance from home is a key component of building sustainable municipalities. We all have a stake in this, as leaders on behalf of our communities.”

“Over the past few years, our local approach to physician recruitment has been underway, involving multiple organizations from across the Island,” wrote Mr. Graham. “Thanks to the strength brought to this initiative, it has proven very successful. Full-time vacancies have been and are being filled as well as bringing a large pool of visiting locum physicians to backfill in all Island practice locations for other needs (i.e. vacation, maternity, medical education leave relief, etc). However, the challenge continues and the needs are expanding!”

Mr. Graham explained that originally, MHC joined with the physician clinics in Mindemoya, Little Current, Gore Bay and Manitowaning, along with the three family health teams and Noojmowin Teg Health Centre, to form a core group of stakeholders who helped steer the initial efforts. Then, added to this core of support, were the initial municipal contributors.

A professional physician recruiter, shared with the North Shore (Blind River area), was engaged to work on the MPRSC behalf on a contracted basis. This resource has spearheaded tasks which include outreach contact efforts with candidate physicians throughout Ontario, helping to market the local opportunities of living and practicing medicine on Manitoulin, on behalf of the local professional practice settings. This role involves travel across the province, visiting with medical students, residents and local physicians in their various settings, and helping to organize work routines for our much-needed local locum pool, a key factor in retaining our current physicians, he said.

“Many communities across Ontario are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on similar efforts,” wrote Mr. Graham. “Our local, collaborative plan is based on very modest investments. To help accomplish this, on your behalf we have partnered with the North Shore (Blind River) area communities, with a shared recruiter as the human resource. This person brings all of the practice opportunities from our Huron North region in front of candidates and then it is the candidate who decides on their level of interest and best fit with what is available. This shared approach makes sense and is showing a good degree of success!”

“Last year, the effort was cemented together through the pool of funds brought forward by the core stakeholders, including a significant contribution from our hospital,” continued Mr. Graham. “The total pooled Manitoulin budget amounted to $33,000. This was then added to the amounts from the participating North Shore communities to pay for the recruitment-related efforts and expenses. The amounts contributed were tiered; based on whether or not physicians were directly located within a community, and if so scaled by how many.”

Central Manitoulin council passed a motion to contribute $6,000 to the program, the same amount it provided in 2017.