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Doctor recruitment board sees money from MD

A board with the goal of bringing and keeping doctors in the Lakeland will be seeing more funding. MD of Bonnyville council voted in their last meeting to increase funding for the Medical Development Loan Fund by $50,000. The fund is used to help doctors who are coming to the community to help secure a loan to buy a home and settle into the town easily.

Dr. Hendrik Van Der Watt is acting physician lead for recruitment in Bonnyville. He says the program is different from other incentive programs.

“We looked at what was the challenges for a physician to start up in a community. One of that was the fact they don’t have a credit record or have large student loans and really didn’t have the money to put forward to use and settle.”

Eight more physicians are expected to practice in Bonnyville in the near future, including two more this summer. Dr. Van Der Watt says the thanks to recruitment is in no small part due to the opportunity the program allows both doctors coming from other countries as well as those taking their schooling in Canada.

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“Up until now there’s been sort of a struggle for access but I really see that changing a big deal in July and August. We’ll sort out the remainder of these physicians coming to town.”

Dr. Van Der Watt says he’s proud of the support the community has shown to new doctors, especially international doctors. He says the best way to get involved with the process of recruiting new medical help is by seeing if you can volunteer your time with a local health foundation or board

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