Dan McNee, Listowel Banner, Wednesday, November 28, 2018

The ongoing local physician recruitment process continues to yield results, as the North Perth Family Health Team announced on November 21 that two new doctors will be starting up family practices in 2019.

Dr. M. Elizabeth Seary and Dr. Ian Cameron will bring the total number of NPFHT doctors to 13, once they begin full-time in January/February of next year. Cameron will be focusing on family medicine with obstetrics and emergency and in-patient services at Listowel Family Health Network, Listowel Memorial Hospital (LMH) and with the NPFHT.

Seary will be focusing her practice on family medicine, emergency services and in-patient services. She is currently filling in temporarily at LMH after completing her postgraduate residency in rural family medicine at the university of Ottawa. Cameron is a former resident at LMH and obtained his postgraduate residency in family medicine plus a fellowship in obstetrics at Schulich School of Medicine - Western University.

"The process is always a long one, it varies for each," said Kim Kowch, health care recruiter for the NPFHT. "Dr. Cameron was a resident here over a year ago, that's when we were first introduced to him. Dr. Seary is here now as a locum covering a maternity leave so it was a little bit shorter of a time frame. Physicians recruitment is always a long-term process."

The two new doctor hires will help compensate for recent and impending retirements. Dr. Rex. Warren, who recently left family practice but continues to support the emergency and anesthetic department at LMH, had his patients allocated to Drs. Anthony Davies and Derek Gateman. But the municipality's under serviced status and continued population increase have also led to further demand for more family practitioners.

"These recruits are to address retirements ... plus the growth in North Perth," explained Kowch. "We're still considered to be under serviced, so we still need to continue to recruit further."

North Perth residents interested in obtaining a family doctor are asked to call the Listowel Clinic at 519-291-4200 to be put on a waiting list while patient allocation details are worked out in the coming months.

Kowch referenced the efforts of the North Perth health care recruitment committee, the Listowel Memorial Hospital Foundation, the municipality of North Perth, the Listowel Wingham Hospitals Alliance, NPFHT staff and physicians, and the community as a whole for continuing to play such crucial roles in attracting more family doctors to the area.

"The impact of attracting new physicians to North Perth is huge," she said. "Having sufficient providers is essential to maintaining and improving the capacity and strength of our local health care system and the community as a whole. A strong health care system equals a strong, supportive and prosperous North Perth.

"This is really exciting news for North Perth and the whole community."