Looking to sweeten the pot for their physician recruitment program, Greater Napanee council asked town staff to seek any partners willing to kick in some extra cash or incentives to entice doctors to set up a local practice.
That was the direction given by council during a discussion on their ongoing efforts to bring more doctors to the area.
Last year the program successfully landed three doctors, but there is still a need for more. Greater Napanee chief administrative officer Ray Callery told council they have interest from three more doctors-two who are currently practicing and one local medical student who is close to finishing school.
“There are physicians who are still very interested in Greater Napanee and there’s many residents in Napanee who are still seeking physicians,” said Callery. “It is something that was identified as a major strategic project with our last community outreach when we did the community outreach planning.”
When asked for direction as to how staff should proceed with their recruitment program, deputy mayor Max Kaiser put forward a successful motion that called on staff to continue to negotiate with the interested doctors to better understand their needs and to strive to put together a package that at least meets, if not exceeds, the $60,000 over five years they had previously offered.
“I think it’s very clear that we have to understand that the financial burden to start up and move into a community is probably the most significant burden for (new doctors),” said Kaiser, noting the doctors aren’t expecting the town to pay all their expenses, just some. “Knowing the other surrounding municipalities and lower tier municipalities and larger ones alike, they’re putting a lot of dollars on the table to attract doctors to the community, we can’t not in the current environment.”
Kaiser also pointed to a recent study that observed every doctor in a community derives over a million dollars in economic spin-offs.
“There are businesses that might or might not consider coming into a community if we have an abundance of doctors or not,” said Kaiser “There are people who might choose to move here or not if they can’t have a family doctor. Then there’s also the jobs within the practice.”
Councillor Dave Pinnell Jr. supported the motion.
“I think it’s very important to offer quality of life to our residents,” said Pinnell Jr. “I second what the deputy mayor says about attracting other people to come and live here and the financial benefits from that.”
Previously the town had partnered with the County of Hastings in their doctor recruitment program. While Hastings says they are no longer seeking doctors, staff was encouraged to seek similar partnerships to see if they could offer a bit more incentives for interested doctors.
Edit: this story has been edited to reflect the fact the town’s partnership was with Hastings County