Rural Manitoba taxpayers spend $250K to find physicians

A quarter million of taxpayer money in Killarney-Turtle Mountain was used to head-hunt and hire two international physicians aiming to solve the community's doctor shortage.

2 physicians from United Kingdom likely to arrive in Killarney-Turtle Mountain later this year

Killarney-Turtle Mountain leaders are hoping they have found doctors who will will stay beyond their four year contract. (CBC)

Civic leaders in the Killarney-Turtle Mountain area banded together and spent $250,000 to recruit and hire two international physicians. Their aim was to solve the community's perennial doctor shortage.

"We've been going short with sporadic, around-the-clock care at our facility now for several years," said Killarney-Turtle Mountain Mayor Rick Pauls, who was part of the 15-member doctor recruitment committee for the southwestern area.

The committee hired a professional executive search company to find physicians who would be interested to live in the community long-term. 

"We were selling our community as much as we were their employment opportunity," he said. 

Two physicians, one from England and one from Ireland, have been hired. One is likely to arrive in the fall and the other in early winter, Pauls said.

"We specifically chose those two countries because we felt that culturally it would be a good fit to our community," he said.

"By doing it site-specific for us, we think that once they land, they're going to stay," said Killarney-Turtle Mountain Mayor Rick Pauls. (Courtesy of Rick Pauls)
"By doing it site-specific for us, we think that once they land, they're going to stay," he said.

These two new physicians will sign a four-year agreement like other international physicians. He said one doctor has already talked about building a new home and the other has talked about buying one.

"That's something that we never hear from … international medical grads," he said. "They're looking for something to rent and they usually buy a home from Toronto as soon as they land in Canada, they come and put their time in with us. The day that their four years is up, they're gone."

Killarney appealed to the physicians because they wanted to work in a community with at least four other colleagues to spread out their on-call schedule, Pauls said.

The region currently has three full-time and one part-time physicians. 

The $250,000 of taxpayer money used to recruit physicians was well worth it, Pauls said. 

"This was a win-win for our community."