Carleton Place looks set to attract GPs with new health center
Plans have been announced for a new family clinic in Carleton Place, in hopes of bringing new GPs to the area.
On Thursday, the Ottawa Valley Family Health Team (OVFHT) in Mississippi Mills announced it would expand its services to the communities of Carleton Place and Beckwith, a region where no family health team is currently established.
Currently, five family clinics, comprising 14 local GPs, care for residents in Carleton Place and Beckwith.
The new facility, which is being built on Costello Drive and will open in fall 2024, will bring those 14 doctors under one roof. It is a plan that OVFHT director Peter Hamer hopes will be attractive to new GPs.
“New doctors coming out of residency these days want group medical practices, so they are interested in working with other doctors,” Hamer tells CTV News.
“We believe this model is attractive to them and we hope to recruit at least five to seven new physicians within the next five years.”
Hamer says that the OVFHT receives about 15 calls a day from people looking for a primary care provider. He estimates that there are between 3,000 and 4,000 people in the Mississippi Mills, Carleton Place, and Beckwith areas without a primary care physician.
Emilie Meyers is a GP who has been working at Carleton Place for just over a year.
She says the prospect of moving to a rural community with limited support is something new doctors don’t want.
“When I was a resident, I remember thinking to myself, do I really want to come here and work in a one- or two-person office and have to take care of everything, and it was scary,” Meyers tells CTV News.
“That’s the whole reason why I joined this project, because it’s so hard to make change as an individual. When I arrived I felt like it would be good for the longevity of primary care in the area .”
Many municipalities across Ontario are experiencing physician shortages, with some choosing to offer large signing bonuses and higher salaries.
“We don’t provide big incentives for doctors to come here,” Carleton Place Mayor Toby Randall said.
“We are still a small town, but we have found a way by working with multiple groups to ensure healthcare in Carleton Place and the region will be accessible to everyone.”
Hamer wants the new facility to become a one-stop shop for residents seeking care, and will include pharmacy, diagnostic imaging, physical therapy and massage therapy.
At 33, Meyers is excited about the prospect of learning from more experienced doctors who will soon be around.
“This is going to be a great way for me to create this space where we can all work together.”