Dr. Don Westby receives a standing ovation during an Oct. 29 meeting to discuss finding his replacement.
DIGBY - The Municipality of Digby has hired a physician recruitment firm to help find replacement in Weymouth for recently retired family physician Dr. Don Westby.
CanAm Physician Recruitment Inc., identified as one of the country’s leading recruitment firms, has been awarded a six-month contract by the municipality to head the search.
Nathan Hanna, who is on the Weymouth Doctor Recruitment Committee, has previously told The Courier that the municipality approved $25,000 for the recruiter.
Warden Linda Gregory, who chairs the doctor recruitment committee, said its members have been working for more than two years to ensure continuation of medical service in Weymouth and felt it was time to take dramatic action.
“We've heard loud and clear from the community that action has to be taken, and taken quickly”, Gregory said, “And retaining professional recruitment services indicates that we are prepared to immediately accelerate that process.”
The warden pointed out that while the long-term goal is the recruitment and placement of two doctors and a nurse practitioner for the Weymouth clinic, hiring a physician recruitment firm represented an important step in that initiative.
She also added that everyone had a role to play in the recruitment process.
“While the municipality and the committee can play a lead role in this effort through working with the recruitment team, the whole community can help by being ready to welcome and engage prospective practitioners,” she said.
CanAm executive director John Philpott said that he looked forward to working with the community.
“Weymouth and the surrounding community is a beautiful area with great people and an existing facility that should be of considerable interest to potential practitioners,” Philpott said.
Gregory said the recruitment committee will continue to work with the Municipality of Clare and the Nova Scotia Health Authority during the six-month search by CanAM. Aswell, the committee will update the community directly and through the media concerning the recruitment process
Speakers an information meeting Oct. 29 in Weymouth Consolidated School were emphatic that the community needs more than one doctor to replace Westby, and were concerned about the future of the Weymouth Medical Centre.
During the meeting, Dr. Alenia Kysela of the Nova Scotia Health Authority outlined the challenges of doctor recruitment and the benefits of a collaborative practice involving doctors, nurse practitioners and family practice nurses.
Recruitment committee member Hanna asked Kysela during the October meeting whether the Nova Scotia Health Authority would stand in the way of local recruitment efforts.
“That’s up to the municipality,” she said. “That’s their decision.”
“I don’t think Weymouth is a hard place to recruit a doctor to,” said Hanna. “They (the health authority) haven’t been able to do it. But I think as long as they don’t stop us, we’ll be okay.”
In addition to the warden, recruitment committee members include Coun. George Manzer and Municipality CAO Linda Fraser, Weymouth Village chair Irwin Gaudet, village commissioner Anthony Frizzell, village clerk Murray Betts, community members Dr. Don Westby, Nathan Hanna, Barry Faulkner, and Denise Theriault, along with representatives from the Municipality of Clare.