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Physician Recruitment Pilot Project Pays off in Interlake-Eastern RHA

Through a pilot project with international recruitment firm, Waterford Global Inc., Interlake-Eastern RHA in conjunction with the Eastern Region Community Health Committee has recruited the first of two physicians being sought for the Pinawa-Whitemouth-Lac du Bonnet area.

Dr. Manish Garg, of Northampton, United Kingdom, is expected to start practicing in Pinawa in August. He has committed to a long-term agreement that includes commitments to provide primary care in Pinawa, Whitemouth, and Lac du Bonnet and to participate in the rotation for on call in the emergency room at Pinawa Hospital.

The Eastern Region Community Health Committee, composed of elected leaders from the Local Government District of Pinawa, Beausejour, Lac du Bonnet and the rural municipalities of Brokenhead, Lac du Bonnet, Reynolds, Springfield and Whitemouth, was established to work with the RHA to increase community involvement in doctor recruitment activities with the intent of bringing stability to health care services through a collective approach to recruitment. Committee chair, Blair Skinner, who is also mayor of Pinawa, believes Dr. Garg is going to be a particularly good fit into the area’s rural medical practice.

“Our first priority was to find a long-term solution for the physician shortage in the area. By partnering with our neighbouring municipalities, we are working together and eliminating competition for recruitment of physicians. Thanks to the leadership of Interlake-Eastern’s senior executives and Board of Directors, the Waterford Global pilot project will achieve all of these goals,” Skinner said.

He added that the teamwork of the Eastern Region Municipalities and Interlake-Eastern RHA and working together to identify solutions were key components to arriving at this innovative, long-term answer to a rural Manitoba wide problem.

This is the first time the RHA has used a recruiting firm to secure physicians and it may be the first time it has been done in Manitoba. Physicians are recruited from countries that the College of Family Physicians of Canada regards as having equivalent training to Canadian standards – meaning physicians can be licensed to practice upon arrival in Manitoba. Physicians recruited through this pilot project have expressed interest in setting down roots and becoming long-term members of the communities they care for, an important consideration for the communities involved and the RHA.

“As with all of our new physicians, we turn to our staff and community members to welcome Dr. Garg to practice and reassure him that he made the right choice,” said Ron Van Denakker, acting CEO for Interlake-Eastern RHA.

The recruitment firm’s services complement the RHA’s ongoing physician recruitment efforts that include targeting recent medical graduates in Manitoba and Canada and attracting international medical graduates to Canada through the provincial International Medical Graduate recruitment program.

Once the second physician is hired, this pilot project will be evaluated to determine if there is merit in continued investment in this method of physician recruitment to rural practice.

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