The town’s physician recruitment committee is optimistic about Stettler’s chances of securing a new doctor soon. A candidate has been identified and offered the job.
Committee chair Leona Thorogood said this week that “even though it’s not for sure,” she’s confident Stettler’s latest call for another doctor will be successful.
A doctor from Scotland visited Stettler in December. She met members of the community and was given a tour of what Stettler has to offer.
The unnamed candidate also visited another community, but in the end, she chose Stettler, and is in the final stages of negotiations, the committee reported.
“Stettler shows well,” said Aubrey Brown, the executive-director of the Stettler Board of Trade and Community Development.
He said that, usually, prospective doctors are invited to visit two communities, and after they make their decision, the process takes four to six months to complete.
The doctor’s choice has initiated a process of completing the necessary paperwork that could see Stettler’s newest doctor arrive by June, Thorogood said.
She said Alberta Health Services approves and manages the hiring.
The UK doctor and her husband have a young daughter, Thorogood said.
The Stettler councillor said the addition of another doctor in town would be a benefit across the region.
“It will help communities to the east relieve some of their doctor shortage pressures,” she said.
The competition between communities to hire doctors is high.
Thorogood said there’s a need for 90 more physicians in central Alberta alone.
Alberta Health Services has approved four more doctors for Stettler, Thorogood said.
There’s a possibility a second doctor could also be on the way.
An Alberta resident doctor working to complete her residency is considering Stettler, and has already done a site visit, Thorogood said.
“It is a definite prospect. There are lots of good things on the horizon.”
The Stettler physician recruitment committee is a joint effort, with the town and county as partners.