Businesses in the outlying areas of Sudbury are getting involved in the hunt for family doctors by making offers they hope new physicians won't want to refuse.
"We have no choice. To make our community better, we have to bite the bullet and do a little extra," said Jean Bisson from the Caisse Populaire in Chelmsford, as he detailed a list of incentives local businesses are offering to any new doctor who comes to town.
He said it wasn't hard to convince corner stores and pizza shops to chip in, since everyone knows how badly new doctors are needed, but "we shouldn't have to."
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Dr. Raymond Jacques came to Coniston — another outlying community in Sudbury — four years ago, partially thanks to the local business which pays $10,000 every year so he can have a lab technician.
But he said small incentives aren't enough to win a doctor over.
"They're just a nice touch, [but] we can afford our own pizzas, and we can buy our own cars."
Jacques said money would be better spent covering the costs of renovating and outfitting a new medical clinic.
New doctors graduate with large debts and rarely have the tens of thousands of dollars it takes to set up shop.
The incentive package in Chelmsford is worth a total of about $8,000 — thanks to donations from about 27 local businesses. Bisson said he hopes the message sent to new doctors will speak to the kind of community Chelmsford is.
"I think it's very important that they realize that Chelmsford is not just a bedroom community to Sudbury," he said.
"People here have a different way of looking at things and it's a very close-knit community."
Bisson said he’s hopeful the community’s efforts will pay off, as many doctors in Chelmsford are retiring and many patients now have to drive into Sudbury to see a doctor.