DAWSON CREEK, B.C. – Two members from the North Peace Division of Family Practice made a presentation to the Peace River Regional District Board yesterday, asking the District to approve more funding for the organisation.
NPFP Executive Director Mary Augustine and Dr. Richard Moody outlined to the Board the work the organisation is doing not only in the North Peace, but in the entire region as a whole. Dr. Moody told the Board that North Peace Family Practice’s residency program sees doctors from all over the country come to the Peace to do their residences, and that often residents will continue to reside and practice in the area once they have completed their two-year residency. He added that the program helps to not only retain family doctors and general practitioners in the region, but specialists as well.
Augustine then spoke to the Board about the funding that the organisation has gotten in the past, and funding that it is seeking to continue to work. Augustine said that NPFP has spent nearly $100,000 towards recruitment of doctors in the entire Peace Region. The organisation helps residents by providing a housing stipend of $416.67 per month, while it provides residents from elsewhere taking electives with stipends of $500/month. Augustine says that they’ve seen a decent amount of residency uptake in both Dawson Creek and Tumbler Ridge. The organisation also supports 2nd year residents by pitching in $5,400 per year for exam fees, and provides a signing bonus of $10,000 for each doctor that sets up their practice in the Peace.
In the next twelve months, the organisation says that they’re forecasting a budget of $124,500: $42,500 in housing stipends, $27,000 in exam fees, and the potential for $50,000 in signing bonuses, as they currently have a total of five 2nd year residents. Dr. Moody stated that part of the reason they are looking for the funding is due to the discontinuation of the provincial government’s GP for Me program in March.
Dr. Mike Pilgrim in Dawson Creek and Dr. Charles Helm in Tumbler Ridge also wrote letters of support for NPFP.
Several Board Directors praised the work that the organisation has been doing to help with doctor recruitment and retention in the Peace, saying that many have noted large drops in the waiting periods to see their family doctors.
The Board resolved to have North Peace Family Practice’s request for funding brought to staff for consideration in the upcoming annual budget, which will be presented to the Board on March 9th.