Recruiting new physicians to the Kingston area is a key component in reducing wait times to see specialists.
Hospitals like Kingston Health Sciences Centre (KHSC) have started looking abroad to try and find specialists willing to relocate and practice locally, often heading across the Atlantic and Pacific oceans to find them.
“I made more money in Ireland than I make here. I took a pay cut because I wanted a different type of job which involved more research and teaching,” said Dr. Benedict Glover, the cardiac electrophysiology at KHSC. A native of Ireland, the specialist was recruited to Kingston two years ago.
Glover also teaches part-time at Queen’s University and says that was the main reason why he decided to accept a position in Kingston.
“There isn’t any kind of great kind of incentives to be quite frank with you. We come because we’re dedicated to what we want to do.”
Recruiters scour the globe for Doctors like Glover and then try to sell them on their city.
“Our lifestyle is a huge incentive for people through the smaller community and yet having all the options for shopping and entertainment and schooling for their children is huge as well,” said Monica Stewart, Faculty Recruitment and Support at Queen’s University.
Technology can play a part as well including e-referrals and telemedicine.
A family doctor can send questions to a specialist using a secure web-based platform. They can attach files like lab reports, photos or diagnostic scans so the specialist can provide an educated opinion. So far 95 primary care providers and 75 specialists are on board locally including Glover.
“We can then determine what patients need to be seen, what patients we can just give advice electronically over the internet,” said Glover.
While the program helps, KHSC says there are still pockets where wait times are long and that the organization is still working assiduously to try to close those gaps.