This weekend, the Greater Kitchener Waterloo Chamber of Commerce is hosting 16 family medical residents and four emergency medical residents and their partners from across Ontario in hopes of convincing them to settle in Waterloo Region. This is the 20th year of hosting this event that hopes to address the shortage of doctors in the rural and urban communities.
The annual weekend recruitment drive was started back in 1998 when the Chamber discovered that many residents in the area did not have access to a family physician.
According to Ian McLean, the President and CEO of the Chamber, at its height as many as 44,000 residents did not have access. Nowadays, that number has dropped to around 18,000.
Friday evening will have the medical residents and their spouses meet with the Chamber along with community and business leaders. On Saturday they visit Communitech for a special luncheon before going on a tour of the hospitals and health sector. Sunday they will be treated to a breakfast before leaving at noon. McLean emphasized the tour was as much about the spouses as they are about the medical residents. The weekend tour aims to show off the rest of what the Region has to offer as well.
“The different communities, the rural/urban opportunities for living, schools, the amenities the community has. And at the same time the doctors are looking at again, all the medical side of this community and what it has to offer,” McLean said. For the past 20 years of hosting of this event, over 200 family physicians ended up settling down and establishing their practices here.
Despite that progress, the region still faces a shortage of doctors due to a growing population as more people move in. There is also the issue of doctors retiring.
“We also have big bubble in the system of retiring doctors that are older and coming up to retirement. Many of whom have very large patient loads,” McLean said. According to him, it would take “a doctor and a half to a doctor and three quarters just to fill the patient load.”
In past years, five or six residents to as many as 11 have set up their practice here as a result of this weekend.
This article was written by Phi Doan for KitchenerToday.com. Read the original article here.