By Jessica Jones
For the Independent
Retaining health professionals is top mind as the Town of Stettler, County of Stettler, and local health care workers join forces to formulate a committee aimed at ensuring ongoing health care services in the community.
The new group, called the Stettler Regional Health Professions Attraction and Retention Committee, will be made up of 12 people and is going to be formed in early 2020 to facilitate community involvement in the attraction and retention process of health professionals.
Representation on the committee will include a councillor from the Town and County, a health care professional, a person from RhPap (Rural Health Professions Action Plan), a person from the Primary Care Network, two people from the Stettler Medical Clinic, the Stettler Hospital and Care Centre Site Manager Diane Palmer, and two people from the community at large.
Palmer explained that it’s sometimes the nature of health care for its workers to move on from their positions, but she says they are working to change this.
“We are working hard with the community to see how the community can support the retention of any health worker, whether it is helping them find housing, or including them in social things … we want to figure out what might be in the community to have them stay working here,” Palmer said.
The committee’s main efforts will focus on three areas: settling in and integrating health professionals, family integration into the community, as well as family quality of life and interests.
The committee will look at reducing the need for recruitment by focusing on retention efforts.
“The benefit is that this committee will look at all professions within the health care industry for recruitment and retention, not strictly focused on doctor recruitment,” explained County of Stettler Reeve Larry Clarke, who noted that there is currently not a doctor shortage in the area.
“This committee will focus on retention and showing health professionals what our region has to offer and why they could choose to live and raise a family here,” added Clarke.
Town of Stettler Mayor Sean Knolls says there is a renewed focus for the committee.
“We used to focus on attracting and retaining physicians through financial means, but we want to take a different approach,” he explained.
“We are proud of the doctors, nurses and health professionals that we have in Stettler,” Knolls added. “For a community of our size it is outstanding to have the quality we do.”