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Belleville hospital chief asks council for help in recruiting ER doctors

By Alan-Michael Steele [1]

BELLEVILLE – Colin MacPherson, Belleville General Hospital’s chief of staff, is asking for city council’s help in recruiting more emergency room doctors.

MacPherson came to council on Monday with a plan to adjust the Quinte-region Family Physician Recruitment Program [2] to help close a shortfall in ER staff.

Currently the program is used to attract new doctors to the region by offering extra compensation for students leaving medical school to start their practices here, and remain for at least five years. The program is targeted at family doctors, which the area has a shortage of [3]. MacPherson’s proposed change would allow for recruitment of ER doctors to work at the hospital, rather than family doctors in independent practices.

MacPherson highlighted the need for more doctors in the community.

“We’re in a very competitive environment, and the situation is becoming critical,” he said, describing the difficulty in recruiting doctors for the hospital.

Due to the lack of family doctors, non-urgent visits to the emergency room have nearly tripled over last year, to 13,000 from 5,000. The hospital would use doctors recruited under the new plan to address the shortage available to see patients who end up in the emergency room, he said.

Council accepted MacPherson’s report and referred it to staff.