Town involved in doctor recruitment
The resignation of two councillors from the local physician recruitment committee doesn’t mean the town isn’t supportive of recruiting new doctors or that the town doesn’t still have representation at the table.
In response to the editorial in yesterday’s Times, Coun. Andrew Hallikas said this morning that council passed a resolution back in August accepting the resignations of himself and Coun. Paul Ryan from the Physician Recruitment and Retention Committee.
“It had absolutely nothing to do with the Town of Fort Frances,” he stressed.
And while the matter of doctor recruitment has been discussed by council in-camera, that discussion had nothing to do with the resignations.
Coun. Hallikas and Coun. Ryan were sitting on the committee as council appointees, but Mayor Roy Avis and Fort Frances CAO Mark McCaig also had attended committee meetings in the past.
They now represent the town on the committee.
“We still have a presence on the committee and in no way have abandoned the committee,” Coun. Hallikas said.
“In fact, we’re very supportive of the committee.
“Speaking for myself, I am very supportive of the committee and plan on working to help [with doctor recruitment],” he added, noting that in recent years he’s taken visiting med students on a tour around town.
“I plan on doing all of that stuff,” Coun. Hallikas vowed.
He reiterated the town is very supportive of the doctor recruitment committee, which has been very successful recently in getting not one but two new doctors here—Dr. Melanie Halvorsen and Dr. Craig Holland.
“Good things are happening and we’re quite pleased with that,” said Coun. Hallikas.
Mayor Avis agreed the Physician Recruitment and Retention Committee is very important, noting two new doctors are now here but two more retirements are anticipated in the near future.
“I think the biggest concern we should have as a committee is to make sure that have is to make sure that we have enough doctors to satisfy the needs in the Rainy River District,” he said this morning.
“We have to be recruiting because every community in Ontario is recruiting, and we have to support to it,” added Mayor Avis.
“I am glad to see we have support from the Riverside hospital, and also from Nelson Medicine and the Fort Frances Community Clinic,” he noted. “It’s all kind of a network, and they’re all working as a team, and that makes it a lot easier, too.”
In regards to references to closed-door meetings in yesterday’s editorial, McCaig explained matters of doctor recruitment sometimes need to be talked about in-camera.
“When you are talking about things like people’s personal issues, in regards to retirement planning or returns of service agreements that are going to be done with doctors, you have to maintain the confidentiality of the individuals involved, so you do have to have those meetings in-camera,” he explained.
“It’s actually a requirement.”