Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital is benefiting from increased funding to strengthen public access to emergency services in rural communities.
The Trail hospital is one of 36 facilities in the province to receive $200,000, which will go toward an increase in wage for physicians working night shift.
“Physicians in Trail felt that was one of their challenged areas, to find workers to work night shift, so it was decided to put that money toward an additional siphon for physicians,” explained Ingrid Hampf, Interior Health’s acute care director for Kootenay Boundary.
“It’s typically always harder to find a physician to work the night shift so this does provide an extra incentive to ensure there is no issue in covering night shift at Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital.”
The $200,000 will be split amongst the 365 late-night shifts per year, with one physician working each night. The funding is being rolled out now and will be retroactive to April 2011.
The province announced the commitment of $10 million last July to provide financial assistance of up to $200,000 a year for rural doctors who commit to reliable emergency services.
The program was created by the Joint Standing Committee on Rural Issues – which includes the province and the BC Medical Association – set up to enhance rural health care delivery across the B.C.
Local physicians were encouraged to work together as a team and apply for the funding and later helped their heath authority decide how to best spend the annual funding.
“Trail hasn’t had any gaps of coverage but this funding does ensure that we have something additional to offer, to attract people to come to our community to work,” said Hampf. “I think that it’s just a great opportunity and that it really does support our rural communities throughout the province.”