It’s no joke. Really.
So says a reward sign being put out by the North Shuswap Health Care Society about their offer to dole out $5,000 cash to anyone from the public who can provide them with information that leads to the relocation of a doctor to work in the Scotch Creek clinic.
The board, comprised of 10 community directors, decided to offer the reward last year but put $1,000 on the table. Now they are sweetening the pot, hoping their unusual marketing strategy pans out.
“Last year we offered that $1,000 for information that leads to the capture of a doctor for our community and we ended up with six or eight leads,” says Jay Simpson, society vice-president. “None of them panned out, but it was the best response we’d had so far, so we thought let’s up the ante.”
The Scotch Creek clinic has been without a doctor since its previous husband and wife team retired two years ago. The two doctors divided the full-time practice.
Last year, the community rallied to purchase the clinic building at a cost of $130,000. It’s got exam rooms, reception areas and lab capabilities, but is still lacking an MD to provide service to the residents.
Currently the community has a nurse practitioner who works out of the clinic twice a month.
For some in the area, seeing a doctor means a 90-kilometre drive to the nearest physician in Chase. The group has tried a number of strategies to recruit a doctor, including professional recruiting companies, with limited success.
“We are not a lot different from a lot of communities out there who are looking for a doctor,” said Simpson. “We decided this $5,000 reward would be less expensive than some of the recruitment agencies and we’d rather get the public involved. We hope the reward will catch people’s attention and get them talking, to find out that so-and-so’s son-in-law is a doctor who might want to come here and enjoy the Shuswap lifestyle.”
Simpson says they would also pay out the $5,000 to a doctor who came in on their own initiative. The clinic building carries no mortgage and they are willing to be flexible with arrangements.
“We could still manage the building, they could lease it –we want to work with a doctor to come up with an arrangement that works,” says Simpson.
To contact the society, email firstname.lastname@example.org, view the website at www.northshuswaphealth.ca or call 250-377-5462.