Councilor David Tudor says he wants to see a real plan for doctor recruitment.
“South West Health gives us a page and a half of minimal details and asks us for a quarter of million dollars?” said Tudor after a recent presentation by South West Health representatives to a joint council meeting with the town of Digby and the district of Digby. “I want to see a budget, I want to see what trade fairs they’re going to, when, how much does it cost.
“Most of all I want to know what is going to be improved for this money.”
Tudor isn’t against giving the health authority the $60,000 a year they recently requested of the town and the district.
“We have to do our best for the people here,” says Tudor. “We can’t just shrug and say it isn’t our responsibility.
“We have to pick up the slack where the province is dropping it off.
“But it’s pitting community against community and we’re all in a race for the bottom spending money we don’t have, that should legally and morally be the responsibility of the province.”
He does wants to make sure any money that goes to the health authority is well spent.
He thinks the best way to ensure that is to change the way the local doctor recruitment committee functions.
MEDIC or Medical Emergency Digby in Crisis receives reports from South West Health and passes them on to the councils and to the community.
“For all we’re doing right now, we could be replaced with a tape recorder,” says Tudor. “There’s lots we could do, and need to do. We need to start by making MEDIC an active vigorous effective committee.”
Tudor says a similar committee in Clare has successfully filled a local clinic there with doctors and is actually working with Weymouth now to keep the recruiting momentum working locally.
“They network, they talk to students, they even talk to science classes,” says Tudor. “They have a plan; a long term plan, a mid-term plan and a short term plan. All I see here is a short term panic plan.’’
Tudor says MEDIC could work on that plan, could take on networking, could work to improve the package doctors receive, and make sure doctors get the whole story of life here.
“Okay so it’s not Halifax, but it’s rural,” says Tudor. “You can go trout fishing with your family, you can go whale watching, hiking, the people are welcoming, the quality of our schools, the class sizes here; there are a lot of advantages.”
Tudor says the people of Digby County deserve a functioning health care system.
“It looks like we’re going to have to fix this ourselves,” he says. “I’m not saying any of this to pick a fight. I’m just talking about the reality of the situation. How long can this go on? How long can we say ‘oh well’?"