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New doctor to ease the squeeze in North Okanagan community

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March 06, 2017 - 2:55 PM

ENDERBY - Enderby’s newest resident is an especially welcome addition to the community — a doctor.

Like many communities in B.C., Enderby has been dealing with a physician shortage for the past few years, and Mayor Greg McCune says they are thrilled with the Interior Health Authority’s announcement of a new doctor.

“We’re back up to where we need to be,” McCune says. The city now has three doctors and one nurse practitioner. 

The newest recruit came to Enderby through the Practice Ready Assessment-B.C. program, a partnership between the provincial government and Doctors of B.C. to introduce internationally-trained physicians to the province. As part of the program, doctors undergo an assessment process, spending three months with a B.C. physician who evaluates their skills. The doctors then practise for a minimum of three years in a designated rural community in need.

“We’re pretty happy with Interior Health,” McCune says.

As other communities struggle with shortages, McCune offers some advice.

“You have to build a relationship with Interior Health so they don’t look at you as a statistic on a piece of paper, but understand your needs,” McCune says.

He says one of the biggest challenges right now is rural doctors are assigned on three-year contracts — after that many choose to move to larger cities.

“Hopefully one or two (of the currently assigned) doctors will choose to stay,” he says.

But even if they don’t, he’s confident the city’s improved communication with Interior Health will prevent shortages.

“If we know we are going to be losing one, we should be well into getting a new one,” McCune says. “We’ve asked to never have that gap.”

He says the health authority has been much more responsive to the community’s needs and believes in the future doctors will be lined up to replace outgoing physicians.

The latest doctor has already been working in Enderby for a couple weeks, and McCune says locals are happy to have him.


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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2017
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