The northern disadvantage

Once upon a time, Slave Lakers would have considered themselves lucky to have a single doctor practicing in the community. Now? If there aren’t nine of them on the job, plus several nurse practitioners, and drop-in visits to the clinic aren’t possible, it’s unacceptable.

In Wabasca, meanwhile similar struggles are occurring, on a slightly different scale. There was even talk at a recent M.D. council meeting of calling in the army to plug holes in medical coverage.

One thing hasn’t changed, and that is the difficulty in getting qualified people to come north. That’s why we are raiding Africa lately for its doctors. Some of them are at least willing to serve in out-of-the-way places, as a way of getting their feet in the door. All they have to do is agree to at least a three-year stint.

But it appears the minimum of three years as a condition is backfiring. Some doctors are apparently willing to serve in Wabasca, but not for that long. So no thanks, we don’t want you. As a result, the hospital was without any doctors, three times this month, and angry accusations were flying around council chambers.

The struggle continues….

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