By Dianne Pinder-Moss
Perth may not be ailing right now when it comes to the number of family physicians in the community but that prognosis could change shortly, according to the town’s mayor.
“We are fine now but, in a very short time, we may not be that way,” he stated at the Aug. 9 Committee of the Whole (COW) meeting of Perth Town Council, noting that several doctors are nearing retirement age.
Fenik told council that the opportunity had arose for Perth to share a professional physician recruiter with Smiths Falls and Brockville at a cost to the town of $10,000 for one year. This will cover one day a week, he pointed out, adding that both the Great War Memorial Hospital Foundation and Smiths Falls Community Hospital Foundation of the Perth and Smiths Falls District Hospital have committed to funding physician recruitment in each of the two communities.
In addition, the mayor mentioned that he had had recent discussions with the reeves of Tay Valley and Drummond/North townships and that both were going to bring the matter before their respective councils to see if there is support for splitting the $10,000 cost with Perth in 2017.
Perth, however, isn’t waiting until then to commence the recruitment process. A motion put forward by Fenik for town council to support the recruitment of a physician recruiter at the $10,000 price tag received unanimous approval. The resolution will come before the regular meeting of town council on Aug. 30 for final approval.
During deliberation of the motion, Councillor Jim Boldt expressed his full support as he shared the experience of a family member’s difficulty in finding a family physician in town. He added that his own family doctor has already cut back on his hours in order to have some family time. Deputy Mayor John Gemmell who chaired the meeting said his physician is doing the same.
“It is a fact in the province of Ontario, doctors across the board are getting up to retirement age,” Boldt stated.
Councillor Jim Graff called the hiring “a proactive approach and I certainly support this resolution.”
When asked by Boldt whether the recruiter would have any bias for one community over another, Fenik replied that the woman who he has already met and described as “quite impressive” would be devoting one day a week specifically to the Town of Perth with Tay Valley and Drummond/North Elmsley benefitting through their geographic locations.
“She has a physician interested in moving to the Town of Perth,” the mayor mentioned.