It appears recruiters tasked with attracting a new doctor to Hantsport by March have their work cut out for them.
Dr. Rick Gibson,Chief of the District Department of Family Practice at Capital Health, says the health authority received inquiries from one physician interested in learning more about the Hantsport Collaborative Practice, but the search for a replacement willing to pick up where Dr. Yuri Canete will leave off when his contract expires in March continues.
“It’s a challenge to be a solo family practitioner or to work in a small practice with just one associate,” Gibson said.
“It makes it difficult to take a day off or to take a vacation.”
Canete, the sole physician at the practice, is leaving to pursue other opportunities. He started at the practice in September.
Gibson, who was not speaking specifically about Canete, said physicians generally find larger practices more appealing.
“Physicians like to have colleagues with whom they can discuss cases.”
He says most family doctors are looking for work in areas where their spouses, many of whom are also professionals, can obtain employment in their field of expertise.
The Town of Hantsport covered Canete’s rent while he was practicing in town as part of an agreement arranged with Cochrane’s Pharmasave. Town council agreed to cover the first six months of Canete’s portion of the rent in the Main Street building owned by Cochrane’s Pharmasave, and half of the doctor’s rent for his second six-month term.
Hantsport CAO Rob Frost says a one-time grant of $9,800 was awarded to Cochrane’s Pharmasave to cover the doctor’s rent, and the purchase of a Ritter examination table ($1,425), and a HOM Mechanical Beam Scale ($325).
“It’s a challenge to be a solo family practitioner or to work in a small practice with just one associate.” - Dr. Rick Gibson
Frost says the portion of the grant allocated for rent was determined according to the $900 a month fee paid by Dr. Iona Wile during her time at the practice. He says $5,400 of the grant awarded to the Pharmasave was to be used for Canete’s first six months in town, and $2,700 was to be set aside for the second six-month term.
Cochrane’s Pharmasave has returned the $2,700 the Town of Hantsport issued for the second six-month term in light of the doctor’s impending departure, Frost says. The equipment purchased with municipal funding will remain at the collaborative practice.
Larry Shipp, the director of pharmacy for the Cochrane’s Group, said the company tries to keep the rent as low as possible to make the building more appealing to prospective renters.
“We estimate our cost for that space to be probably in the $1,200 to $1,300 range. So even in the best case, it’s not a moneymaker for us.”
Frost says town officials are providing the Capital District Health Authority with information about the Haven of Hospitality that may help recruiters find a replacement for Canete before his final day on the job.
“You need to have somebody that wants to live in rural Nova Scotia and wants to be involved in rural Nova Scotia. It’s not going to be a huge practice so, in some cases, money might be a factor,” Frost said.
He says town council and staff will continue to work with the health authority to ensure a new doctor is found as soon as possible.
Canete did not respond to a request for comment as of press time.