Bonavista gets funding for 2 new doctors, 2 nurse practitioners
Eastern Health has funded four new positions in Bonavista, according to the town's mayor.
John Norman said Thursday that despite the town's struggles to recruit full-time health-care workers for existing positions over the past year, he has high hopes the new jobs will help fill all the vacancies.
He said everyone he's spoken to about working in Bonavista wants something similar — flexibility. With more positions at the hospital, everyone will have more flexibility to do what they prefer, whether that's taking on more patients at the family clinic, or more shifts at the emergency room, or striking a balance between both.
"As the positions are filled over time, this will make the patient volume and the workload for everybody involved a lot better," Norman said. "That is the hope."
Eastern Health will be posting two family physician positions, and two nurse practitioner jobs.
Norman said talks are already underway with promising prospects for the new positions. He said there are locums in place right now, covering 20 days next month in the town's emergency room and some of April. That's hopeful, he said, after months of the ER being closed for days on end.
He said the doctors filling in next month have expressed interest in signing full-time contracts.
"That to me also indicates that there is some movement and that physicians are taking these new offers seriously."
Bonavista was the first town in Newfoundland and Labrador to announce municipal bonuses for doctors who agree to practise in their town. It was offering cash bonuses along with fully serviced building lots for $1.
It took a creative approach to solving a problem being felt across the country — a struggle to recruit and retain staff to keep rural health-care centres open.
The federal government signed an agreement in principle with the provincial government on Thursday, pledging $2.17 billion in federal funding over 10 years, including $749 million for a new bilateral agreement "focusing on the shared health-care priorities" and $27 million to address immediate needs.