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‘This really opens physician’s eyes’: KW Chamber of Commerce touring future doctors at recruitment event


The need for doctors is becoming more desperate. A recent report by the Ontario College of Family Physicians forecasts that by 2026, 4.4 million people will be without a family doctor.

But, an event this weekend hopes to address that problem by focusing on the next generation of doctors.

"This really opens physician's eyes in terms of what the opportunities are in this community," said local family physician, Mohamed Alarakhia.

The Greater Kitchener Waterloo Chamber of Commerce is hosted its 25th annual physician recruitment event, where over 30 family physicians and specialists came together under one roof at Communitech in Kitchener.

"Right now, we have close to 70,000 people that don't have access to a primary care physician and so for us, this is a real opportunity to welcome and showcase the entire region to not only young physicians but also their partners," said President and CEO of the chamber, Ian McLean.

McLean says the annual resident weekend is a major recruitment initiative.

"These residents, second and third year residents, get to choose where they want to practice and we want it to be here.”

Residents also met with high profile business and community leaders.

"Primary care physicians and emergency room docs and specialists are the gateway for people's health so this is an incredibly important program," McLean said.

The weekend event comes as concerns grow surrounding doctor shortages in the area.

"I mean, people are burning out. It's a shame that there aren't enough supports for physicians right now and so there are lots of patients out there that can't find a physician [because] physicians are shrinking their practices or leaving practice," said Alarakhia.

He emphasized that the demand for healthcare services is surpassing the available resources, which in turn, created an alarming gap in patient care.

"Things have become more complex, the population is aging,” Alarakhia said. “It really is that teamwork, that whole community type of support that's necessary for a better health system."

He says now it is time to focus on the recruitment and retention of physicians.

"I also think team-based care is really important so we're looking at forming more teams where clinicians are part of a team and some of the other team members can help with patients who need additional support."

While concerns were present at the event, so were solutions like a new automated process to better support clinicians with administrative work.

"We're looking at all the supports in the community that can help physicians do what they want to do, practice medicine, start to decrease some of the admin burden and I think if we can do that, we can start to rebalance things," Alarakhia said.

The Chamber has helped recruit over 300 family physicians since the late 90’s when over 40,000 residents did not have access to a family practitioner. They say their work to help recruit more doctors to the area will continue for years to come. Top Stories

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