July 18, 2018 8:20 pm
Updated: July 19, 2018 7:41 am

Doctor recruitment continues in rural Saskatchewan

WATCH ABOVE: The Saskatchewan Health Authority is taking on the agency that manages doctor recruitment in the province, and will continue to place a high priority on recruiting physicians for remote and rural locations.

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Over the years there have been many advancements when it comes to modern medicine, but one of the biggest hurdles to still overcome in Saskatchewan is who exactly will treat and care for patients in rural and remote areas.

In less than one week’s time on July 23, the Physician Recruitment Agency of Saskatchewan will transition over to the single health authority to make recruitment and retention efforts a little more seamless.

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“I think that by having saskdocs embedded into the Saskatchewan Health Authority we can alignment of our recruitment efforts,”  Dr. Kevin Wasko, physician executive for integrated rural health with the authority, said.

“It would be more efficient, there will be reduced duplication of efforts and we make sure everyone is on the same page.”

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Rural and remote recruitment will continue to be one of the biggest challenges for officials.

“Through the work of saskdocs, we have had some success recruiting not only physicians but nurses and other health care professionals in some of those hard to recruit areas,” Saskatchewan Rural and Remote Health Minister Greg Ottenbreit said.

READ MORE: Saskatchewan Medical Association worried about delivering services to rural areas

Since 2007, the province and saskdocs have been able to head-hunt more than 900 licenced doctors and 3,700 nurses.

City dwellers should be just as concerned about how the health care system is working in the quiet country-side as those that live there.

“When we are under-resourced in some of rural centres that means we are bypassing some of those smaller community hospitals or regional hospitals that are not able to function at their full capacity and patients end up coming to the urban centres that are already stressed,” Wasko explained.

So just how dire is recruitment? Currently, there are more than 120 physician positions the health authority is looking to fill. All other health care professions are posted separate from this system.

Officials said the trick in most cases is finding someone who was raised in a community and having them return. It’s those close-knit ties to the area that will keep an individual there long-term as they treat and care for patients.

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