Andrew Smith – Listowel Banner July 4, 2018

Doctor recruitment continues to be a challenge for the North Perth Family Health Team, as another longtime physician leaves the practice this week.

The retirement of Dr. Rex Warren was announced at the NPFHT annual general meeting on Thursday, June 28, which executive director Mary Atkinson would definitely leave a hole in the local clinic after Dr. Warren has been practicing here for 28 years. Fortunately, Atkinson was also able to announce a new recruitment in Dr. Anthony Davies, who is arriving from Estevan, Saskatchewan.

"Because they come from a rural area in Saskatchewan, this was a nice fit for the." Atkinson said. "It was really important to them to find an area like this, we just lucked out."

Atkinson said Dr. Davies will be joined at the clinic with his wife Julianna, who is a nurse practitioner, and was put in touch thanks to a North Perth advertisement on the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care recruiting website. Atkinson said it’s validation that the recruitment efforts are working, and that the community has a lot to offer for potential physicians.

"I think once they get here, they see the value that this community offers," she said. "I think it’s a double win in that regard."

Listowel’s clinic continues to be underserved by three physicians according to the guidelines set by the ministry, Atkinson said, but that the community has done well to recruit as many doctors as they have.

"In many urban-rural centres, sometimes the replacement time is three to five year." Atkinson said. "We’re obviously sending out the right message to the communities. We’ve been very lucky to recruit as soon as we have."

Atkinson said that a number of other long=term physicians are approaching the age for retirement, but that no firm timelines have been put in place. In the meantime, staff will continue the recruitment effort with some prospective visitors this year.

"There’s a couple of other physicians who have reached out and are interested, so we have another couple coming to interview us, I guess I could say," Atkinson said. "That should happen sometime this summer."