Another family doctor will start practicing in Creston next month.
Dr. Bryndel Fell is a graduate of the UBC medical school in Prince George where he studied rural practice and has already done a couple of locum stints in Creston.
“It’s wonderful to get the word out about Creston being successful at having another physician relocate here,” says physician recruiter Marilin States. “We’re very excited to have him come and join us.”
States explains Fell was a colleague of another physician who spent some time as a locum and Creston and suggested that he might want to come here, which he did. He has since decided to move here with his family.
States says word-of-mouth is just one of the tools they have used to bring doctors to the valley.
“It is a very collegial community of physicians to work with and a very welcoming community overall,” she says.
Since States began her efforts in 2011, she has helped recruit 16 physicians to Creston, of whom 11 are still practicing here. Family commitments and other decisions resulted in three of them relocating, although in two of those cases it came as no surprise, as they had only made short-term commitments.
“That was their interest when they came, and we elected to say yes. There’s always the hope they’ll say ‘You know what? I’m just going to stay here permanently.’ Sometimes they come back and do another year or two. It helps relieve the physicians who are here and adds additional capacity for patients looking for someone to provide care.”
States also helps recruit locums for one to three months to fill in for other doctors on holiday or who are away taking courses.
She says they are always looking to add more, although it’s difficult to say exactly how many full-time equivalent doctors Creston has, since many work part-time. In addition to keeping office hours, they look after patients in the hospital, do emergency calls, and some are sub-specialists who do surgery, anesthesia, and practice obstetrics in addition to general practice.
Despite her efforts, she says not everyone in town has a family physician. While she couldn’t put a number on it, she says they are looking at “creative ways” to create a “fair and equitable” waiting list.
She says when Dr. Fell is ready to accept patients, a notice will be issued.