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Clinic in hunt for more doctors

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The Fort Frances Clinic will make its presence known in southern Ontario later this month in an effort to lure recently-graduated doctors to practise in Northwestern Ontario.

Technically called the “health professional recruitment team,” the group--led by clinic administrator Maureen Gartshore--will head to universities in Ottawa, Kingston, Hamilton, London, and Toronto on Sept. 27.

“The purpose is to service a non-serviced area,” Gartshore said. “We’re currently looking for two general practitioners, one physiotherapist, and several nurses.

“We’ll have a four-hour display at each of these sites, and hopefully we can encourage some practitioners to come up here,” she enthused.

Although there isn’t a dire need for physicians here at the moment, Gartshore noted they was preparing for the future. “We recruited five physicians last year but we have to be prepared with area doctors retiring and what not,” she said.

Gartshore is hoping an incentive will be the “comprehensive package” put together for doctors by the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines earlier this year.

“We also recently put together an alternate payment plan for surgery and anesthesiologist services, and that should be lucrative,” she remarked.

The tour will end Oct. 1--by which time Gartshore hopes to see at least a few new recruits heading up here. But even if this year’s push doesn’t draw anyone, she remains hopeful.

“It’s valuable to have your presence known. One of the ways to keep health care going in the north is this way,” she stressed. “You can’t rest on your laurels--recruitment in Canada is becoming fierce.”

The local doctor recruitment program is a joint project between Riverside Health Care Facilities Inc., the Fort Frances Clinic, Abitibi-Consolidated, and the Town of Fort Frances.

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