Province expands recruitment efforts for physiotherapists in rural P.E.I.

The province says it has expanded its efforts to recruit physiotherapists to the Island.

Health minister says department is working to address physiotherapist shortage on P.E.I.

The minister of health and wellness says work is being done to fill vacancies for physiotherapists across P.E.I. (Shutterstock)

The provincial government says it has expanded its efforts to recruit physiotherapists to the Island after the Official Opposition asked about vacancies during question period Thursday.

PC MLA Colin LaVie asked the health minister if he had managed to recruit a physiotherapist for Souris Hospital after a need for one was identified during a tour they took together.

Minister of Health and Wellness Robert Mitchell acknowledged a gap across P.E.I. and said an incentive program has been developed to bring more physiotherapists to the province.

The program offers recent physiotherapy graduates $20,000, in addition to their salary, to work in hospitals in rural areas for at least three years. 

Mitchell said they've managed to recruit three since the program began, one of which will be heading to Souris while the other two are already in West Prince. 

"Physiotherapists are in large demand all across the nation so this is a good program we put forward to entice them to come to P.E.I.," he said.

The minister said even with the new recruits, there will still be gaps that need filling. Right now, 10.5 full-time equivalent physiotherapist positions are vacant on P.E.I.

"We will be in reasonable shape in the West Prince area but we'll continue to work with non-government organizations that employ physiotherapists to come in and help fill those needs and gaps."

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