Reward for doctor

The North Shuswap Health Care Society is offering up a reward of $5,000 to anyone who can bring a doctor to work in Scotch Creek B.C. for a term of three years. (North Shuswap Health Care Society)

The North Shuswap Health Care Society is putting up Old West-style 'Wanted' posters around the community of Scotch Creek, B.C. offering a $5,000 reward to anyone able to wrangle a doctor.

The society came up with the idea to offer the finder's fee in hopes of attracting a physician to work at the medical clinic it owns in Scotch Creek, according to society vice-president Jay Simpson.

"We are trying to do everything that we can," said Simpson.

"We know that it is difficult. We know that there are lots of communities out there that are looking and we are trying to rise above the froth and just get the message out there."

In order for someone to claim the reward, they must find a doctor willing to sign a three-year contract to work at the Scotch Creek clinic, says Simpson.

The 2,300 people who live year-round in the North Shuswap have been without a physician since September 2014.

The summer population of the North Shuswap, with seasonal residents and tourism, can swell to 30,000.

"The community has told us, in no uncertain terms, that they want a health center here," said Simpson. "We're ready to go for any doctor that comes along."

One year ago the healthcare society offered up a $1,000 reward for a physician. That brought in four or five leads; however none of them panned out, said Simpson.

So the healthcare society decided to raise the reward in hopes of drawing even more attention to their search.

"The board thought it was a great idea and so we have just gone with it and it seems to be getting some response," said Simpson.

The society is also using a recruitment agency to find a physician.

Incentive programs to lure doctors have been offered in a several B.C. communities, including the promise of free housing and vehicles.