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AHS says doctor recruitment is challenging, especially for non-major centres like Red Deer

While AHS can’t hire doctors directly for private clinics, some physician recruitment is on-going
(Black Press file photo/ Pixabay)

Alberta Health Services states it’s facing recruitment challenges across the province — especially getting physicians to move outside of major urban centres.

While AHS does not have jurisdiction to recruit directly for private medical clinics in Red Deer, as family doctors are independent practitioners, there’s concern about the local doctor shortage and AHS “is reviewing retirement and succession plans with local medical leaders.”

“We have a dedicated team in place focused on implementing solutions to support recruitment efforts across the province,” AHS stated on Wednesday.

This includes “aggressively pursuing both Canadian and internationally-trained physicians,” as well as posting part-time positions to provide additional flexibility for physicians, and is providing incentives for full-time positions.


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AHS is also consulting with post-graduate medical education programs to promote work experience in non-urban facilities and increase the number of training positions. And it’s engaging third-party recruitment firms to target particular specialties and locations.

Since most physicians work for themselves and not Alberta Health Services, AHS does not have jurisdiction over their independent practice, therefore “we do not recruit to specific medical clinics…. That said, our workforce planning process determines the physician need for communities across the Central Zone,” AHS added on Wednesday.

Some doctor recruitment efforts across Central Zone are ongoing: “In Red Deer, we have recruited four physicians in the last year who work for AHS as well as practice family medicine. There are another 13 job postings, in various stages of recruitment progress, for physicians who will practice in the community and will have hospital privileges.”

The recruitment challenges AHS is experiencing across the province, particularly for physicians outside of main urban centres, is not unique to Alberta, but is experienced nationally and internationally.

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Lana Michelin

About the Author: Lana Michelin

Lana Michelin has been a reporter for the Red Deer Advocate since moving to the city in 1991.
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