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Chamber seeks funding for community navigator to aid with doctor recruitment

Yarmouth Area Chamber of Commerce president Angie Greene, vice-president Kerry Muise, and, in back, executive director Rick Allwright at the June 12 Municipality of Yarmouth committee of the whole meeting.
Yarmouth Area Chamber of Commerce president Angie Greene, vice-president Kerry Muise, and, in back, executive director Rick Allwright at the June 12 Municipality of Yarmouth committee of the whole meeting. - Carla Allen

New hire to hit the ground running, starting hopefully on July 1

YARMOUTH, N.S. —

A respected business organization in Yarmouth has joined the effort to recruit and retain doctors. 
Last fall, the Yarmouth Area Chamber of Commerce launched a task force to research the topic. The team met with recruiters, doctors, Doctors Nova Scotia and others to see how best to address the problem. 
A full-time community navigator (CN) was the ultimate recommendation. The person hired will work to prominently position Yarmouth County on a provincial level, and “through community-supported efforts, make it the most advertised, most accessible and most attractive area of the province to practise in.”
The proposed annual budget for the position, including salary, administration costs, travel, conferences, marketing and hospitality plus other costs, is $222,000.
The task force has set a tight timeline for the hiring of the CN and is contacting potential funders now, with hopes of a three-year contract starting on July 1.
The Municipality of Argyle and the Town of Yarmouth have approved motions for $20,000 each towards this position.  The Municipality of Yarmouth (MoY) will be contributing the same, contingent on the province of Nova Scotia providing the $77,000 requested. The Municipality of Barrington is also being asked to contribute $20,000 and the Yarmouth Hospital Foundation is being approached for $50,000.
During a presentation to Yarmouth municipal council, Warden Leland Anthony expressed discouragement in his experiences with the Nova Scotia Health Authority (NSHA) and says he hopes with the assistance of Chamber of Commerce boards across the province, the scarcity of doctors will be resolved. 
"If they combine and help with this issue I think the health authority might consider the things that they ask," he said.
In their presentation to the June 12 MoY committee of the whole, Chamber of Commerce vice-president Kerry Muise and president Angie Greene brought up the success rate of Shirley Watson-Poole, a doctor recruiter who retired five years ago. 
Poole worked at the job for 14 years, attracting 114 doctors to the area between Digby and Shelburne. 
At last count, this region was short four specialists and eight general practitioners. 
“Although the Nova Scotia Health Authority does have a recruiter for this area, she’s based in Kentville and is responsible for the area from Kentville to Bridgewater,” said Muise.
“That includes three regional hospitals as well as secondary hospitals.” 
Muise said the CN will not be competing with NSHA recruiters. 
“We want to work with them and enhance their roles.” 
Muise said some people have asked the chamber why it is interested in this. 
“Number one, doctors are business people and they need to be respected and aided in doing their jobs. Sometimes they’re reluctant businesspeople but that’s the reality of it,” she said.
"Number two, in the business community, unless we have physicians here at a regional hospital, we’re not going to attract people. It’s extremely important to our business clients and our community that we have a good number of physicians.” 

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