Chief of staff at the Rimbey Medical Clinic, Dr. Christine Ellis checks out a patient last Thursday. As of Oct. 31 residents who do not have a regular family doctor will need to find a physician elsewhere as Rimbey Medical Clinic is unable to accommodate them until such time as new physicians arrive. Treena Mielke Photo Dr. Christine Ellis examines a patient at the Rimbey clinic.

Doctor shortage in Rimbey

Physicians needed at Rimbey Medical Clinic

There’s a doctor shortage in Rimbey.

After many years of enjoying a stable complement of physicians, the search is on for more medical doctors in the town.

As of October 31, only four physicians will handle the medical needs of the community. The community will lose two doctors at the Rimbey Medical Clinic because one has moved out of Rimbey and another will retire in the next few months.

The four remaining doctors will not only see patients at the clinic, but will be responsible for a host of other duties. The physicians will also be responsible for providing 24/7 coverage in the increasingly busy emergency department and delivering low-risk obstetrical care. They will also care for patients admitted to the 25-bed hospital and meet the medial needs of the residents in the 84-bed long term care facility.

Dr. Paula Burke said the shortage of doctors Rimbey is facing is an old problem for rural Alberta communities, but a new issue for Rimbey. She noted that not all physicians possess the desire to meet the broad demands of rural practice.

“Rimbey has been very lucky,” she said.

Peggy Makofka, who sits on an ad hoc committee formed to address the physician recruitment situation in Rimbey, said a couple of physicians have expressed some interest in setting up practice in Rimbey. The committee is planning a social event to encourage these physicians to consider Rimbey as a community of choice for setting up a medical practice and raising a family.

Staff at Rimbey Medical Clinic along with Alberta Health Services and the newly formed local Attraction and Retention committee are working very hard to recruit new physicians.

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