A widespread physician scarcity on P.E.I. coupled with the Island’s housing disaster left one metropolis interesting on social media for the general public’s assist to seek out lodging for a locum physician.
“It appears as if we’re extra reliant on locums now than we have ever been,” stated Dr. Tyler McDonell, medical director on the Prince County Hospital in Summerside, the province’s second largest metropolis.
“However I do not assume that is distinctive to PCH. I believe that is a system-wide phenomenon.”
Whereas some departments have managed to get their staffing up, he stated others are nonetheless very brief — and just a few presently rely solely on locums to function.
McDonell stated bringing in locums — short-term docs from outdoors the province introduced in to assist cowl off leaves and gaps in protection — can also be a very good recruiting instrument.
‘Actually, actually troublesome’
Since January 2022, McDonell stated the hospital has had between 50 and 60 positions that have to be stuffed, with 31 completely different docs filling them.
However getting them right here can typically be a problem.
“There is a want for locums all throughout the nation, and these folks are likely to have the power to go the place they wish to go,” he stated. “They’re pulled in each route.”
And the province’s housing state of affairs is a problem, too.
In response to the latest knowledge from the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Company, the emptiness fee in Summerside was 1.5 per cent in 2021 — down from the 12 months earlier than.
“That is vital for each locum that comes, all of them want a spot to stay,” stated McDonell.
“It is often a doable factor … but it surely’s summertime, P.E.I. is busy and we’re remarkably depending on locums — it is turn into actually, actually troublesome.”
Asking the general public for assist
The Metropolis of Summerside just lately took the bizarre step of posting on social media asking for assist in discovering lodging for one locum physician.
“He’s in search of a 1-2 bed room, furnished, with nice WIFI, and near hospital if attainable,” the put up reads. “We would really recognize if any availabilities are on the market and you would ahead particulars.”
“It may be difficult and completely summertime we’re packed,” stated Gordon MacFarlane, the performing CAO for Summerside.
“It is simply a kind of stuff you attempt to work by and discover the physician an important spot to remain for him and the household.”
‘It takes a village’
Hospital officers have a tendency to assist discover folks a spot to remain by phrase of mouth however typically it requires extra progressive options.
“I assume if it actually got here to it, I would probably lease out my home,” MacFarlane stated.
“We will transfer heaven and earth to ensure that the physician has someplace to stay. As a result of they’re clearly a key a part of the entire financial and well being engine that makes the neighborhood run.”
The town stated members of the general public stepped up to seek out the physician housing — welcome information because the hospital is hoping to rent him completely.
“It takes a village, proper, to maintain a system like this going,” stated McDonell.
“It’ll take a number of heavy lifting and a number of artistic considering to proceed to beat the issue.”