Fifteen new doctors have arrived to the Sun Country Health Region since January of 2013.
The residents of Estevan, Kipling, Carlyle, Redvers, Arcola, Oxbow and Weyburn have all benefited from the recruitment efforts of their local communities, saskdocs and Sun Country Health Region. All of those groups have worked in partnership over the past two years to recruit these doctors.
"As a result of this successful work, more residents will be able to connect regularly to a family doctor rather than visiting the Region's emergency rooms or travel out of the Region for their health care needs," said Marga Cugnet, Sun Country Health Region CEO.
Retention is the next big step in this process. Keeping the doctors who have arrived is as important today as recruitment was two years ago. For that part, the Region must rely to a great extent on the local communities.
Saskdocs reported province-wide survey results last year indicating that work-life balance is the most important issue for all new doctors coming to Saskatchewan. About 45 per cent of doctors cite an imbalance between their work and their family life as the reason they would choose to leave their practice. About 48 per cent said they would leave specifically because of family reasons.
In contrast, income was an issue for only four per cent of those departing doctors.
The result of that saskdocs survey means the Region must continue to keep the numbers of doctors at an optimum level so that each doctor is required to work on-call in a hospital emergency department a minimum number of evenings and weekends, says Cugnet.
"It also means that local communities need to extend a friendly hand to the new doctors and his/her family members, include them in activities and help them integrate into the area and become settled."
The saskdocs survey showed that in the past, 54 per cent of new doctors coming into the province received little community help, like assistance finding housing, transportation and education for their children, a community orientation to facilities and services, that would help them feel welcome and encourage them to stay.
Sun Country Health Region is fortunate to have had communities that recognized these needs and provided support.
"That kind of information is a powerful tool to help all the agencies involved in recruitment to stay focused and remain successful," said Cugnet.
Recruitment for more doctors and nurse practitioners for those communities which are still short will continue in the upcoming year.