For over a decade, the Chamber has recognized that family physician recruitment is critical in meeting the primary health care needs of our rapidly growing population. Lack of access to family practitioners is not only a serious community health care issue impacting our citizens, it is also an economic development issue impacting our business community.
Originally, a volunteer driven initiative supported by passionate and committed Chamber members, family physician recruitment became a full time, staff and volunteer supported initiative with the launch of the Chamber Health Care Resources Council (CHCRC) in 2006. With staff resources and financial investment from our municipalities and corporate community, the Health Council has been able to enhance previous recruitment efforts.
The four key objectives of the CHCRC are to:
1. Attract and retain family physicians
2. Support local hospitals in their recruitment and retention
3. Make Kitchener-Waterloo-Woolwich attractive to health care professionals and support workers
4. Develop policy and advocacy initiatives to address community health care.
One of the key recruitment initiatives is the annual Family Medicine Resident Weekend where we positively engage young physicians in training and promote the community as a welcoming, attractive leading edge centre of excellence with promising practice opportunities. The weekend also provides business connections for the physicians’ partners to learn more about employment opportunities in their respective fields. Over the past seventeen years this event has been instrumental in residents’ decisions to establish their family practices in the area.
Since 1998, 190 family physicians have been recruited and the number of people without a family physician has been cut in half.