County council folds physician recruitment committee
By Chad Ingram
Published Jan. 31, 2017
Haliburton County is folding the Haliburton Highlands Health Professionals Recruitment and Retention Committee, replacing it with a committee with a new function.
County councillors made that decision during a Jan. 25 meeting.
Members of council met with doctors from the Haliburton Highlands Family Health Team in October to discuss the role of the committee, which has existed for several years.
“It really became clear in those conversations that the doctors felt the success they’ve had has come from the resident and locum programs,” county chief administrative officer Mike Rutter said during Wednesday’s meeting, adding the doctors felt the committee should serve more of a support role, helping to introduce visiting medical students and doctors to the community, in hopes of them staying permanently.
“It’s such a dramatically different role that had been envisioned in the past,” Rutter said.
It was his recommendation that since the role of the county committee would no longer be directly in recruitment, that the committee fold and terms of reference be drawn up for a new committee.
“I had used the term ‘party planners,’ which is a very loose term,” said Algonquin Highlands Reeve Carol Moffatt. “That’s what this group is meant to be.”
The family health team will continue with doctor recruitment. With some retirements on the horizon, it’s expected that four to five new physicians will be required in the community in the next few years.
Haliburton Highlands Health Services, which operates the hospitals in Minden and Haliburton, is now also involved directly in doctor recruitment, seeking physicians for its emergency rooms.
The county will continue to provide funding for financial incentives for physicians who agree to practise in the area for a term of four years.
Rutter is recommending $100,000 be budgeted for that purpose in 2017, that amount increasing to $125,000 for 2018 and succeeding years.