P.E.I. has its first-ever chief physician recruiter, appointed as part of a joint project between the province and the Medical Society of P.E.I.
Dr. Megan Miller, who has been a palliative care physician and clinical associate at the Cancer Treatment Centre in Charlottetown since 2013, was announced in the new position Wednesday morning.
"This is actually a first-of-its-kind recruitment model in Canada," Miller told CBC News.
"We really feel it's going to put P.E.I. on the map for creating a more innovative way to think about recruiting physicians."
The need is pressing. P.E.I.'s patient registry site currently shows 15,300 people are waiting for the services of a family doctor, though nearly 300 of those do have a doctor but want to switch to a different one.
Miller said the province currently has about 23 vacancies, including in family medicine, anesthetics, psychiatry, emergency medicine, gastroenterology and microbiology.
The province reports it has recently been recruiting about 20 doctors a year. There were 18 in 2019 and 20 in 2020. Eight have committed to come so far in 2021, with discussion underway with a dozen more.
Part of larger change
The medical society entered into a contract in November with the Department of Health and Wellness to implement a "physicians recruiting physicians" model for the province. The society said hiring a chief physician recruiter was its first commitment as part of this contract.
Miller said her appointment is part of giving doctors more of a role in recruiting new medical staff for the Island.
She will be the lead contact for prospective physicians looking to practise medicine on P.E.I., and will help them establish themselves.
Miller describes her role as "supporting them after they've come here, so they see success and they learn what we have learned, which is that P.E.I. is a really wonderful province and a really wonderful place to live and work and raise a family."
She will also work closely with P.E.I. physicians to help recruit new doctors to their communities and specialties, as well as in determining what the needs are, and staying on top of any upcoming vacancies.
Miller was appointed to a two-year term, and starts in her new role on Feb. 16.
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