There is a doctor shortage across the province – but not in Maple Ridge or Pitt Meadows where currently there are multiple doctors accepting patients.
Eight doctors, according to the Ridge Meadows Division of Family Practice, are seeking patients, an exceptional amount given about 900,000 people across the province do not have a family doctor.
“Longitudinal primary care is in crisis. Across our province, family doctors are retiring, closing their practices, or reducing their hours—and many more are considering doing so. Thanks in part to the work of the Ridge Meadows Division of Family Practice (RMDFP), we are very fortunate in this community to have doctors actually seeking patients. That is something to celebrate,” noted Dr. Melodie Prem-Smith, a local physician and chair of the division.
There are 72 family doctors in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows, 15 recruited in the past three years.
Part of their success in recruiting family doctors is that the Ridge Meadows Division of Family Practice provides everything that prospect physicians need to help them decide if our community is the right fit, explained division executive director Treena Innes. And they also provide wrap-around supports to ease their transition if they do decide to work in this community.
“Any interested physicians are provided community tours, supported to find childcare, housing or anything else related to setting up their new homes, and connected with a physician mentor to help them establish their practice,” she said.
Family doctors, Innes added, may be coming from other parts of Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, or other overseas countries.
Although Innes has no new figures, in 2018 it was estimated that about 18,713 residents of the community were without a family doctor.
“Recruitment is competitive across Canada so we appreciate family doctors staying here over the long-term. Every day they are working to their max to make sure their patients are getting cared for, and then contributing even more hours to improve care systems for seniors, children and youth, mental health, pain and substance use through various community-wide initiatives,” continued Innes.
In honour of BC Family Doctor Day on May 19, the Division of Family Practice has organized a Honk for your Doc from 7:30-8:30 a.m. for residents of Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows to wave signs and health care workers can don scrubs, urging commuters to honk in support of local doctors.
The event will take place on the south east corner Maple Meadows Way and Lougheed Highway, on the western border of Maple Ridge.
Anyone who does not have a family doctor can go to findadoctorridgemeadows.ca for information on the doctors that are accepting patients.
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