Nova Scotia

Glace Bay goes jigging with doctors as it tries to hook one

Four doctors visited Glace Bay last week for a tour that included a trip down a coal mine and jigging for mackerel.

Local group hopes to lure doctors to community by showcasing local attractions

A campaign in Glace Bay, N.S., to recruit new doctors included a boat cruise off the coast and jigging for mackerel. (Submitted by David MacKeigan)

A community group in Glace Bay, N.S., hopes to lure new doctors to the town by taking them out fishing. 

As part of a recruitment effort, four doctors from Nigeria were taken on a grand tour last Friday, going for a boat ride off the coast, jigging for mackerel, taking in the Cape Breton Miners Museum and dining at local restaurants.

The effort was a collaboration between the Nova Scotia Health Authority, the community development group Bay it Forward and local doctors. 

David MacKeigan, vice-chair of Bay it Forward, said the recruits expressed a desire to be accepted and embraced by the community if they moved to Glace Bay, something they referred to as "community love."

"We showed them a lot of that, so they were very impressed," he said.

David MacKeigan is vice-chair of Bay it Forward, a community group that led the tour. (Emily Latimer/CBC)

MacKeigan said the doctors, their spouses and children were engaged during the tour. 

"We had them jigging for mackerel and they were actually dancing on the boat, they were that excited," he said. 

The doctors have been training in Canada for the past five years. Upon completion of their final examinations, they decided they wanted to relocate to Nova Scotia.

"We need doctors," MacKeigan said. "The doctors in Glace Bay, their caseloads are quite heavy and we haven't had a new doctor in Glace Bay for a while now." 

Usually, there are 15 doctors in town, but now there are only nine. 

Mark Ellerker, a family doctor in Glace Bay who was also on the tour, said there is a demand for family doctors. 

The tour was a collaboration between local doctors, a community group and the Nova Scotia Health Authority. (Submitted by David MacKeigan)

"We really are quite short-staffed. And I think the recruits thought that if they come to Glace Bay, they can make a big difference," Ellerker said. 

Ellerker said there are many experienced doctors in Glace Bay who are willing to take a new recruit under their wing and mentor them. 

Ellerker said he heard that some of the candidates have ranked Glace Bay quite high on their list after visiting the hospital and a new clinic that's undergoing renovations. 

Glace Bay was the last stop on a tour of Nova Scotia. The recruits also went to Truro, New Glasgow, Guysborough, Hubbards and Musquodoboit.

None of the doctors have yet decided where they will set up practice.

This isn't the first time recruits were taken on a tour of the Glace Bay area. Last year, two doctors visited and both ended up staying to practice in Sydney.