Ottawa (Ontario) - Mayoral candidate Mark Sutcliffe will create a family doctor recruitment strategy for the City of Ottawa. The goal of the strategy would be to work with local post-secondary institutions, hospitals, Ottawa Public Health, provincial and federal levels of government to address the shortage of family doctors and promote Ottawa as a destination for more physicians.
“Many residents I’ve spoken with have brought up their frustration in finding a family doctor,” said Sutcliffe. “While this isn’t specifically a municipal issue and the City of Ottawa can’t solve this problem alone, the Mayor can show leadership in implementing a strategy for this high-needs area to recruit family physicians to our city. This includes working directly with the provincial government and providing a safe, reliable and more affordable city that brings doctors here for more than just work.”
Other municipalities have developed and implemented physician recruitment strategies with success. Kingston has recently attracted nine new doctors to the city, which it credits to its Family Physician Supply Plan. Other municipalities such as Windsor and Hastings County do not offer incentives directly to doctors but instead work with post-secondary institutions to support family medicine and psychiatry residency programs, with the aim of keeping doctors in the region after graduation. Sutcliffe said he is open to a number of options, depending on what is recommended for inclusion in the strategy.
The family doctor shortage is one of several major issues facing the province’s healthcare system. In the first six months of the COVID-19 pandemic, 170,000 people in Ontario lost their family doctors. A surge of retirements is expected, and stories of burnout are frequently cited within the healthcare profession.
Sutcliffe noted that the bulk of recruitment and retention efforts remain with the provincial government, but that the City of Ottawa can also play a role. “We are already so fortunate to have a world-class medical school and hospitals in our city,” noted Sutcliffe. “That is a huge advantage in our ability to recruit and retain more family physicians. We owe it to residents in Ottawa to pull our weight in trying to help them access primary care.”
Sutcliffe went on to note the importance of ensuring a safe, reliable and affordable city with great quality of life as an important determinant of keeping medical students and family physicians in Ottawa. “A low tax rate, policies that make life more affordable, reliable public transportation and roads, a revitalized downtown, safer neighbourhoods and building more affordable homes all play a role in bringing the best and brightest to Ottawa,” stated Sutcliffe.
Mark Sutcliffe Campaign