Dr. Jonah Fulmore, Health Minister Kelvin Goertzen, Dr. Sarah Blelloch, Dr. Jessica Chan and Dr. Dylan Thompson. at the press conference Sept. 27. All four physicians will be practicing in Gimli. (Juliet Kadzviti/The Interlake Spectator/Postmedia Network)
The province officially welcomed 19 new family physicians to the Interlake-Eastern Regional Health Authority during a press conference at the Gimli Community Health Centre Sept. 27.
Physicians have been placed in the following communities: Ashern (two), Eriksdale (one), Arborg (one), Teulon (two), Stonewall (two), Selkirk (two), Beausejour (two), Pine Falls (three), Gimli (three) and Brokenhead (one).
Some of the physicians have already begun working, with others arriving in their new communities in coming weeks and throughout next year.
“Physicians in rural communities have told us that at times they feel isolated, and many have left to work in larger centres or facilities where more people and resources are available,” Health, Seniors and Active Living Minister Kelvin Goertzen said.
“To address this, the IERHA has been implementing new, team-based models of primary care. Now, these 19 new family physicians are moving to communities across the region, ensuring quality care for rural Manitobans,” he added.
The IERHA also welcomed three specialists who will provide palliative care, surgical and hospital services in the region.
At the conference, IERHA introduced some of the new doctors including Dr. Dylan Thompson, who will be practicing in Gimli.
“I would just like to say that so far everybody in Gimli has been amazingly accommodating and kind, and I think that these are the sorts of traits that have really attracted both myself and Dr. (Jessica) Chan, who will be starting in October, (to Gimli),” Thompson said.
“I think the opportunities that have been offered to us have been amazing and go above and beyond. I have to say it’s quite a welcome.”
Chan, who studied at the University of Manitoba, said she was attracted to the region after having spent some time here during her residency.
“I worked out of Stonewall for a couple of months and really enjoyed it.”
“I’m very excited (to start working. There’s just been so much opportunity (and support),” she said.
IERHA recruitment efforts
With IERHA’s recruitment efforts for physicians still an ongoing issue, the current crop of new doctors was a welcome win for the region IERHA CEO, Ron Van Denakker said, adding it took many years to come together.
“Some of these people we met while they were medical students and they were part of rural interest weeks. They would come to our region and just get used to the communities,” Van Denakker explained.
“Our recruiter has managed to maintain relationships with these and many other doctors and I think that, this is very important because this isn’t just about us and staying in touch with them, it’s about that connection with the community, so it’s a group effort.”
Van Denakker said these connections will hopefully yield many more interested doctors in coming years for IERHA.