Alberta Health Services is currently in the process of trying to bring another 8 or 9 family doctors to Grande Prairie to help address the city’s current shortage of family doctors.
AHS North Zone Physician Resource Planner Susan Smith says while the shortage might be more noticeable right now, physician recruitment is always an ongoing process.
“I don’t think that we notice the shortage as much as we did maybe one or two or three years ago. You will hear comments that residents have a difficult time in finding family physicians.”
Smith says she is in talks with about 8 doctors right now, in varying stages of recruitment, though until the doctors have actually set up practice in the city, there is no guarantee of their commitment to the city.
She hopes to have a fuller compliment of doctors available in Grande Prairie by this time next year.
“By spring we should have, I would say, probably around 3 new physicians. Throughout the summer, and definitely when we get into next fall, we probably would have all 8 or 9.”
When it comes to recruitment practices, Smith says word of mouth is a huge tactic for attracting doctors.
She says more than 60, maybe even 70 per cent of physicians in Grande Prairie have been recruited that way.