2022 funding commitment sought to continue physician recruitment efforts

A doctor writing notes. File photo courtesy of © Can Stock Photo / photography33.

Blue Coast Primary Care Recruitment is seeking $80,000 from the City of Sarnia in 2022 to continue its physician recruitment efforts.

The organization, formerly known as the Physician Recruitment Taskforce of Sarnia-Lambton, says 17.6 physicians are currently needed in Sarnia to provide quality access to care to all residents by the end of 2023.

Recruitment coordinator Carly Cox said 38 family physicians have been recruited by Blue Coast to municipalities across Lambton county since the task force was created in 2001, and 23 of those physicians practice in Sarnia.

“That is approximately 76,000 residents that have a family physician due to our efforts,” Cox said.

She said they’ve successfully recruited five new physicians since 2019.

“Of those five, two new physicians will be joining us in 2022 and we will announce them in the coming months.”

Cox said three physicians have retired this year, but they were working with a physician who retired early and the individual decided to return to practice and take over two of the three retiring physician practices in Sarnia.

She said another individual working as a hospitalist at Bluewater Health also transitioned into a family practice.

Cox said retirements will be a “constant trend,” as 43 per cent of the family physicians in Sarnia are at least 60 years old.

The recruitment organization is hoping for a three year funding commitment with the city.

Council will consider the request during budget deliberations on Tuesday, December 7.

Council will also consider a $780,000 commitment, over the next three years, toward the development of a Bright’s Grove Community Hub, a $50,000 request toward the hiring of a full time executive director at Diversity Ed – Safer Spaces Canada and setting up a separate reserve fund, with a $500,000 annual commitment, dedicated toward the improvement of pedestrian safety.