Sunday, June 14, 2015
Filling in the Gaps
A GP for Me
physician recruitment strategy
Released by Asma Farooq, CDFP
Chilliwack Division of Family Practice is seeing early successes after it
introduced a physician recruitment and retention strategy that aims to
ensure there are enough family doctors available to meet current and future
primary care needs in the region.
The Division has received funding for this work from A GP for Me, a joint
initiative of the Government of BC and Doctors of BC that aims to improve
access to primary care and help more British Columbians who want a primary
care provider to find one. A GP for Me is being implemented across the
province by Divisions of Family Practice, non-profit community-based groups
of family doctors committed to improving primary care in their communities.
In the communities of Chilliwack, Agassiz-Harrison, Seabird Island and Hope,
A GP for Me is being led by the Chilliwack Division of Family Practice.
The recruitment of new doctors into the community and retention of existing
ones are key priorities for the Chilliwack Division, in order to manage the
community’s health care needs as the population grows and as family doctors
retire or move away from the community.
The Division’s Recruitment and Retention Committee, comprised of Division
leadership and staff, local family doctors, representation from Fraser
Health, and external community partners, such as the Chilliwack Economic
Partners Corporation, is reaching out to potential recruits who may be
interested in coming to any of the communities. Initial efforts to
replacements for colleagues who are retiring or leaving the community are
already showing results.
• Patients of three
doctors who either moved away or retired in the past few months
either attached to or meeting with new doctors who are coming to
• Two international Medical Graduates have been recruited to
Dr. Jessica Kennedy, Physician Lead for Recruitment and Retention,
highlights the committee’s diversity to support these efforts. “These are
fabulous communities to be working in and we are keen to demonstrate this to
incoming doctors. We are working hard as a medical community to ensure that
new doctors are well-supported when they arrive here,” she says.
The committee is also scheduling guided tours for potential and confirmed
recruits to acquaint them with the community. Elly Meyerink, Operations Lead
for the Chilliwack Division, organizes these tours. “The tours are important
in the recruitment of new doctors,” she notes. “When they are able to see
where they could be practicing, and observe the collegiality of the
physician community and the support they offer each other, potential
recruits are often influenced to join the diversified medical community that
Physician recruitment and retention is one of six A GP for Me strategies the
Division is advancing to improve the capacity and delivery of local primary
care services, including:
• PAM (Patient Attachment Mechanism):
Connects individuals who do not have a primary care provider with a
primary care clinic, a family doctor or a nurse practitioner in the
community: 604-795-0034 or toll free: 1-844-795-0034.
• Increased support for the Chilliwack Primary Care Clinic: More
patients who do not have a primary care provider can access services
until they can be attached to a regular provider.
• Expanded rural services and outreach programs: The Hope and the
Fraser Canyon communities are improving access to primary care for
new mothers, Aboriginal and seniors’ populations.
• Practice support and coaching for doctors and medical staff: A
partnership with Fraser Health provides customized support for busy
medical practices, to help them find office efficiencies to create
capacity and enhance the delivery of patient care.
• Enhanced community education and awareness: Information and weekly
blogs on the Division website, and education sessions sponsored by
the Division and community partners, help people learn about when,
how and where they should access primary care.
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