The City of Welland approved a budget of $1M for a physician recruitment incentive program; the Economic Development Reserve Fund will provide the funds.
The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care has deemed Welland an area of high physician need, and as of February 2023, documented the city is 17 family physicians short. This shortage is anticipated to increase, given the projected population growth and slate of family physicians retiring.
“We recognize how critical healthcare and access to healthcare is,” said Mayor Frank Campion. “This pledge by the City signals a clear and loud commitment to our residents that we will do everything we can to ensure they have access to family doctors and other healthcare services.”
The recruitment incentive is designed to bring 10 new doctors to the city, with $100K for each new family physician starting their own or taking over an existing practice. Economic Development staff will work closely with the Physician Recruitment and Retention Specialist with Regional Health Initiatives, Niagara Region Public Health, on the Niagara Physician Recruitment Program.
Physician shortages are not unique to Welland; several municipalities in Niagara and across the country are finding unique approaches to recruit new practices or entice practitioners to take over existing practices.
- In the past five years, Welland has lost six physicians and added three.
- 34 per cent of Welland family doctors are over the age of 65.
- Welland has the lowest family physician per 10,000 population ratio in Niagara (4.3 doctors per 10,000 people).
Implementing this initiative will support residents’ quality of life and ensure Welland continues to be seen as a progressive City to live, work, play, and invest.