Essex County Council expected to discuss physician recruitment position


Amherstburg wants to see what it will take to reintroduce the Physician Recruitment position in the county.

Deputy Mayor Chris Gibb will bring forward a notice of motion Wednesday night on behalf of Amherstburg council to Essex County Council.

"Hopefully at the county level we can become leaders in trying to find a way to help provide more primary health care for our residents," says Gibb.

Gibb says county councillors heard a presentation last month from ProsperUs and were told there are roughly 32,000 people in Windsor-Essex that are not attached to a primary health care provider.

He says 7,000 are children from newborns to 14.

Gibb says in 2019, one in five physicians in Windsor-Essex were over the age of 65.

He's hoping to get the support from county council and would like administration to bring back a report on ways to improve primary health care in the county.

"We're hoping that the county can come up with maybe there's some other innovative options but the need for primary care providers is growing in our region," he says.

Gibb believes the county is uniquely positioned to try and find innovative solutions for primary health care.

"I think it might fall a little bit out of the county's purview but I think we've got a great team at the county, the staff there and I think they're going to be able to find some innovative solutions so that we can do something to help provide more primary health care to the people of Essex County," says Gibb.

He says the need for primary health care providers is growing in the region.

"I don't know if recruiting family doctors is the answer or if maybe there's more innovative solutions," he says.  "Pharmacists are able to prescript more and more, there's nurse practitioners out there so I'm basically hoping that county council will agree to start looking into some kind of option."    

The Physician Recruitment program was originally launched in 2003 and was funded by the City of Windsor and the County of Essex.

Windsor pulled out of the program several years later while the county continued to fund it until 2022.

In 2019, county council heard 569 doctors opened a practice in the region since 2003.

That worked out to 35 physicians per year.

The budget for the Physician Recruitment Officer in 2019 was set at $153,000.