At one point it looked as though the District of Chetwynd would be without a single doctor by July 1, but at an event last week marking the opening ceremony of the town's new medical clinic, three doctors announced they will be setting up office in the gateway to the Peace.
Doctors Venter, de Jager and Banas all confirmed they would be setting up practice within the new $1.3 million clinic.
Dr. Venter has been practicing in the community for a number of years, but was set to leave this July. He has since reconsidered.
Chetwynd's gain is Dawson Creek's loss, as Venter was set to bring his practice to the Mile Zero City after leaving Chetwynd.
"I'm happy to stay in Chetwynd and to work with dedicated health care professionals," Venter said in a release. "We need to give credit to both the District of Chetwynd and as well as Northern Health who went way and above our expectations and probably their capabilities to make this project work. I would like to thank every one who is involved to make this a success."
As a back up plan, Northern Health confirmed they had secured a locum doctor for the first three weeks of July, and were in the process of securing a nurse practitionerto work in the community for six weeks over the course of the summer.
The new medical clinic, which was built by the District of Chetwynd, will operate under an income guarantee model, rather than the normal fee-for-service model, Northern Health's Chief Operating Officer for the Northeast , Angela De Smit said.
"In the current fee-for-service model, [a doctor's] income is based on their productivity," De Smit explained. "The income guarantee model a very attractive model particularly for new graduate physicians who are concerned about whether or not they are going to be able to earn a reasonable income."
De Smit added that under the new model, doctors don't have to worry about the business side of running a clinic.
"They work in a Northern Health clinic so their overhead is covered," she said. "They also don't have to worry about the business aspects of the clinic like hiring secretarial staff, medical office assistants, where they are going to get their supplies from, they can just come and practice as a physician."