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Doctor campaign expands

The fight to find more doctors is going regional.

The North Okanagan Regional District board agreed Wednesday to work with the Interior Health Authority in trying to recruit physicians and other health care professionals.

“It’s a very legitimate request to partner to promote our region,” said Jerry Oglow, NORD chairman and Armstrong mayor.

That decision came after a presentation from IHA officials.

“Canada ranks dead last in physician supply,” said Cathy Stashyn, leader of physician recruitment.

“The time has come to address the crisis.”

With other provinces and regions also vying for doctors, Stashyn is convinced that the North Okanagan must work together to address its current and long-term needs.

“We really want to sell the Interior and the opportunities here,” she said.

And she insists that the North Okanagan’s lifestyle will help draw some doctors here.

“The community sells the community. They look for the advantages we have.”

Stashyn pushed NORD to establish a single Web site portal for physicians and other health care professionals and to work with IHA on recruiting efforts.

“We want to make sure the sales message is the right one,” she said.

Other issues that will be looked at is developing a brochure that sells the north Okanagan to doctors, as well as a candidate mail-out package.

“Be the welcoming committee to health professionals who knock on your door,” said Stashyn.

There was unanimous support among NORD members to get involved in trying to bring more doctors to the region.

“We’ve been struggling in Lumby and Cherryville (to recruit physicians) so let’s make sure it’s regional,” said Eric Foster, a director and Lumby mayor.

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