Clearwater is expected to sign up a second doctor this fall, but recruitment efforts are still on to get at least three or four physicians working in the community.
The community has had one permanent doctor for several months, but other physicians have helped out on a locum basis, said Bryan Redford, director of community integration for Interior Health West.
The soon-to-arrive doctor is coming from Great Britain. Redford said Friday he’s applying for a work permit and is expected to get through the paperwork and set up some time this fall.
Redford said Dr. John Soles, who is the lone full-time physician in Clearwater right now, would ideally like to have five doctors in the community.
Clearwater is one of 17communities in the province that includes a one-time $100,000 payment for doctors who sign up for three years of service.
The other communities are Bella Coola, Burns Lake, Chetwynd, Cranbrook, Galiano Island, Hazelton, Kitimat, Nakusp, Pemberton, Port Alberni, Port Hardy, Princeton, Quesnel, Terrace, Tofino and Tumbler Ridge.
While doctor shortages have caused closures of emergency rooms in some rural B.C. communities, Clearwater has not yet had to do that as far as Redford can recall.
“There’s been a committed group of locums there,” he said.
“I do know Clearwater has been supported by Interior Health and the Health Ministry. It certainly isn’t for a lack of hard work on the part of everyone. Clearwater’s a beautiful place to practise.
Attracting doctors to rural communities seems to go through cycles, he said.
Chase, which was stable for a long time, is down to two doctors, while Ashcroft is up to three.
The Rural Physicians for B.C. incentive is available for a total of 20 doctor positions in 17 designated communities.