The town of Bonavista is fed up and is considering its own incentives to attract doctors to the local hospital.
Mayor John Norman says that includes offering up serviced building lots to physicians for $1, and his own cash signing bonuses.
The Bonavista ER, which serves a catchment area of more than 8,000 people, is closed again this week due to staffing shortages and Norman, who has been fighting for changes to improve health care in the region, has had enough.
After years of attracting young families and business to town, he says some residents are now leaving because of problems accessing health care—while others, who were thinking about moving to the town have chosen other options.
At the crux of the recruitment issue says Norman, is the fact that the local hospital is designated as a Category B facility, resulting in a lower pay scale. That, says Norman, is like telling residents they are category B citizens.
He says the Department can pay more in travel and associated costs to bring locums in from out of province, rather than paying physicians, living in Newfoundland, a reasonable wage with a reasonable workload.
The town is giving serious consideration to offering its own incentives to any physician who signs on to full-time work at the local hospital. Norman says they haven’t voted formally on the incentives, but councilors are in agreement that extraordinary measures must be taken.
“If that means the town of Bonavista has to budget 30 or 40 or $50,000 a year to create some signing bonuses for two or three physicians to stabilize its situation, we will do it” says Norman. “We will find the money somehow.”