Need for more physicians still a reality in Drayton Valley

By Laine Mitchell (Twitter: @Laine_Mitchell)
November 20, 2017 - 1:15pm

Improvements are continuing to be seen in the number of physicians practicing in Drayton Valley, but more are still needed according to one local committee. 

Since it's inception in 2011, The Pembina Physicians Recruitment and Retention Committee (PPRRC) has been helping to attract more doctors out to the Drayton Valley area. 

However getting and keeping physicians in a rural Alberta community can be a challenge says committee President Fayrell Wheeler. 

"It can be a big challenge, a lot of the time the biggest issue we find is that they do all their schooling in major cities and they are there for so long by the time they graduate they have established their lives there. Having them move away from big centres has always been really difficult."

Wheeler says the committee has helped reduce the high demand for physicians that was seen previous to it's creation, but the need for one or two more is still there and is a concern with the regions aging population.

She adds that a new clinic which recently opened in Drayton Valley is a huge success for the committee, and ensures extra pressure being lifted off the system with it's opening. 

"Because we have been here and been helping and been able to get them situated and happy in the community, they opened their own clinic and they are staying, which is a great thing," said Wheeler.

26 physicians work in Drayton Valley, but that number tends to fluctuate with many only working certain periods of the year. The most recent local geographic area report done shows that Drayton Valley's area holds nearly 20,000 people, with many turning to the two clinics. 

A presentation by the PPRRC will be made tomorrow at Brazeau County Council.  

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