February 26th, 2020 ~ Vol. 90 No. 8
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Doctor numbers in the Crowsnest Pass continue to fluctuate
Crowsnest Pass Herald Front Page
Stock photo
David Selles
Pass Herald Reporter
The number of doctors in the Crowsnest Pass continues to vary at the local clinics.

Members of council recently attended the RPAP Conference in Lethbridge, which provides an opportunity for areas to recruit doctors to their town or municipality.

For the Crowsnest Medical Clinic, the conference can be a positive tool for recruitment but family physician, Dr. Matthew Fisher, says that this year’s didn’t help.

“I think it's a useful tool for recruitment. We were perhaps slightly disappointed that we didn't have any good leads coming from it. Overall though, it's a useful form for recruitment.”

Dr. Fisher says that currently, the clinic has seven physicians but the constant flow has that number change almost constantly.

“We have five permanent doctors plus two who are currently unsure if they will be staying in the Pass. We actually had three retire and the two who currently aren't permanent have come to take care of the patients of the three retired doctors. We are currently looking for three doctors to achieve what we are looking for.”
continued below ...
According to Fisher, what they’re looking for is enough doctors to provide all residents in the Crowsnest Pass a family physician between all clinics in the area and Fisher believes three more will get them there.

Dr. Fisher also adds that the clinic has another major recruitment activity that is responsible for most of the staff that comes to the Pass.

“One of our major ongoing recruitment activities, which we've done for many years is residency and clinical clerk training programs. We have ongoing training of medical residents, family medicine residents as well as clinical clerks, which are at the end of med school when they do their practical training in the hospital.”

Dr. Fisher says that currently, the clinic has some of those staff right now.
continued below ...
“We have four of them in our clinic right now. They're here for periods of anywhere from two weeks to two months depending on their rotations. That's kind of our biggest ongoing recruitment activity to try and build up the community’s medical staff.”

Another clinic in the Pass is also looking to fill positions.

Dr. Johann Maritz says his clinic is currently looking for multiple physicians at the moment.

“I am by myself. I have openings for three more physicians.”

For Dr. Maritz, he says the RPAP Conference isn’t something he uses to try and recruit staff.

“I don't personally find it that useful. First off it's for students so it's all new physicians. The other clinic will take students but I don't. It's good for them to attend but not for me.”

According to Dr. Maritz, many residents find themselves travelling out of town to find a doctor due to the fact there currently aren’t many options.

Dr. Maritz believes that a balance between both local clinics could help provide more options for residents.

“I believe that the town would be very good with two healthy clinics because it gives people choice and makes everybody better. If we want to support the town then I feel that we, as physicians, need to be letting go a little bit of our own personal prejudices and interests and make sure that everyone has a physician in town. It doesn't mean that the clinics have to be the same size, or one has to be better than the other one, it just means that we need to have viable clinics that give people options.”
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February 26th, 2020 ~ Vol. 90 No. 8
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