Earlier News

DR. KIRK HAUNTS JOINS THE COBOURG HEALTH CENTRE
- NEW PATIENT INTAKE TO BEGIN IMMEDIATELY

Contact: Tracy West, Project Manager, Physician Recruitment and Retention Committee, at tracywest@cogeco.ca or 905-376-7411

WEST NORTHUMBERLAND COUNTY, Thursday October 29, 2009 - The members of the Community Physician Recruitment and Retention Committee (CPRRC) are pleased to announce the arrival of a new family physician to our area, Dr. Kirk Haunts.

Dr. Haunts grew up and attended High School in Kingston, Ontario and completed an undergraduate degree in Life Sciences at Queen's University. He attended medical school at the Leicester-Warwick Medical School in Coventry England. He completed his medical residency in Family Medicine at Queen's University this Fall.

After touring other communities for practice opportunities, Dr. Haunts listened to his sister when she suggested that our area would be a perfect location to live and set up a practice. After touring our area this summer, with the physician recruitment committee, Dr. Haunts agreed that our community was perfect for him. Dr. Haunts decided to join the Cobourg Health Centre and move to west Northumberland.

"I am very excited to be setting up a practice in this beautiful community. West Northumberland has so much going for it…warm and welcoming residents, an active, family oriented community, supportive physicians, a new hospital and close proximity to my family," said Dr. Haunts.

West Northumberland residents may call the Cobourg Health Centre at 905-373-1282 to request an introductory appointment with Dr. Haunts.

Dr. Haunts will attend to his patients admitted to Northumberland Hills Hospital. He will further support the community hospital through shift work in the NHH Emergency Department and in the Fast Track Clinic.

"I happily welcome Dr. Haunts into our practice and into the community," said Dr. Mark Essak on behalf of his colleagues at the Cobourg Health Centre. "Kirk will be a great addition to our team of staff and physicians."

Dr. Haunts is the fourth family physician successfully recruited to the area by the CPRRC in 2009. "While this is an amazing accomplishment for the west Northumberland Community, the CPRRC must continue to work diligently to recruit new family physicians in order to keep pace with the future needs of our residents," said Dave Hughes, CPRRC Chair. "According to the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care, west Northumberland is still under serviced by 4 Family Physicians. Challenges such as a growing and aging population and many family physicians approaching retirement age will further impact the doctor shortages and the recruitment needs."

In Ontario the business of physician recruitment has become highly competitive with every community vying for a limited number of family physicians. Thanks to support from the community and the much needed financial support from west Northumberland municipalities, the CPRRC is positioned to maintain its recruitment initiatives and recruitment momentum in order to continue attracting family physicians to our area.

About the Community Physician Recruitment and Retention Committee
Formed in 2001, the Community Physician Recruitment and Retention Committee (CPRRC) is a volunteer group of citizens representing community agencies and businesses, municipalities, physicians and the Northumberland Hills Hospital. Chaired by local resident Kim Rudd, the Committee's mandate is to attract new family physicians to the area and to lead efforts helpful in retaining the excellent family physicians working in our communities today. For more information about the CPRRC please visit www.northumberlanddocs.com.

DR. RINA DASKALOPOULOS TO JOIN THE COBOURG HEALTH CENTRE IN JUNE 2009 - NEW PATIENT INTAKE TO BEGIN JUNE 29, 2009

Contact: Tracy West, Project Manager, Physician Recruitment and Retention Committee, at tracywest@cogeco.ca or 905-376-7411

WEST NORTHUMBERLAND COUNTY, Wednesday June 24, 2009 - The members of the Community Physician Recruitment and Retention Committee (CPRRC) are pleased to announce the arrival of a new family physician to our area, Dr. Rina Daskalopoulos.

Dr. Daskalopoulos grew up in Toronto. She completed an undergraduate degree in Science and attended medical school at the University of Western Ontario. She completed her medical residency in Family Medicine at Queen's University.

Since completing her residency Dr. Daskalopoulos has practiced medicine in many Ontario communities through "locum" or fill-in opportunities with family practices. This past January, Dr. Daskalopoulos was encouraged by a medical colleague to work in our community through a locum opportunity. Her positive experiences, in our community, over the past six months led to her decision to join the Cobourg Health Centre and move to west Northumberland.

"I am thrilled to be setting up a practice in this beautiful community. It has always been my goal to practice rural medicine and this community offers me so much more…..welcoming residents, supportive physicians, a new hospital, and close proximity to my family," said Dr. Daskalopoulos.

Since completing her residency Dr. Daskalopoulos has practiced medicine in many Ontario communities through "locum" or fill-in opportunities with family practices. This past January, Dr. Daskalopoulos was encouraged by a medical colleague to work in our community through a locum opportunity. Her positive experiences, in our community, over the past six months led to her decision to join the Cobourg Health Centre and move to west Northumberland.

"I am thrilled to be setting up a practice in this beautiful community. It has always been my goal to practice rural medicine and this community offers me so much more…..welcoming residents, supportive physicians, a new hospital, and close proximity to my family," said Dr. Daskalopoulos.

Beginning on Monday June 29th, west Northumberland residents currently without a family physician may call the Cobourg Health Centre at 905-373-1280 to request an introductory appointment with Dr. Daskalopoulos.

Dr. Daskalopoulos will initially focus on accepting "orphan" patients (those without a physician) into her practice. Having hospital privileges, Dr. Daskalopoulos will attend to her patients admitted to Northumberland Hills Hospital and will deliver obstetrical care for her patients. She will further support the community hospital through shift work in the NHH Emergency Department and in the Fast Track Clinic.

"I happily welcome Dr. Daskalopoulos into our practice and into the community," said Dr. Mark Essak on behalf of his colleagues at the Cobourg Health Centre. "Rina will be a great addition to our team of staff and physicians."
Local residents have reason to celebrate as Dr. Daskalopoulos is the fourth family physician successfully recruited to the area by the CPRRC and the third physician recruited in 2009. "While this is an exciting result for the west Northumberland Community, the CPRRC must continue to work diligently to have new Family Physicians commit to practice in our community," said Kim Rudd, CPRRC Chair. "Across Ontario there is fierce competition to recruit and retain family physicians and west Northumberland is involved in this competition. The doctor shortage will continue to remain a challenge as more family physicians are approaching retirement age at the same time that fewer medical students are choosing family practice as their specialty". According to the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care, west Northumberland is still under serviced by 4 Family Physicians.

About the Community Physician Recruitment and Retention Committee
Formed in 2001, the Community Physician Recruitment and Retention Committee (CPRRC) is a volunteer group of citizens representing community agencies and businesses, municipalities, physicians and the Northumberland Hills Hospital. Chaired by local resident Kim Rudd, the Committee's mandate is to attract new family physicians to the area and to lead efforts helpful in retaining the excellent family physicians working in our communities today. For more information about the CPRRC please visit www.northumberlanddocs.com.

DR. ERIN PEPPER TO JOIN THE COBOURG MEDICAL CENTRE IN JANUARY 2009

NEW PATIENT INTAKE TO BEGIN NOVEMBER 12, 2008

NORTHUMBERLAND COUNTY, MONDAY, November 10, 2008 - The members of the Community Physician Recruitment and Retention Committee (CPRRC) are pleased to announce the successful recruitment of another family physician to our area, Dr. Erin Pepper. Currently dividing her time between "locum" or fill-in opportunities with local family medicine practices and the Emergency Department (ED) at Northumberland Hills Hospital, Dr. Pepper recently confirmed that she will be joining the Cobourg Medical Centre on Burnham St. in Cobourg. She will begin seeing new patients in her family practice this January, and also plans to continue her work in the hospital, both through shifts in the ED and through obstetrical care for her patients.

"I grew up in this area, and I'm very pleased to be returning to practice medicine," said Dr. Pepper, who graduated from CDCI East in Cobourg. "There are many opportunities for family physicians today, and a number of communities appealed to me, particularly in the north, where I had an opportunity to work during my training. I love Lake Ontario, though, and this area has so much to offer both professionally and personally. I'm really looking forward to building my practice in west Northumberland."

Dr. Pepper is well aware of the fact that many people are without a family physician in west Northumberland. For this reason she plans to focus on "orphan" patients (those without a physician).That said, Dr. Pepper will also accept self-referrals for obstetrical care for pregnant women whose current physicians do not deliver babies.

Local residents currently without a family physician may call the Cobourg Medical Centre at
905-373-8333, beginning November 12, to request a spot with Dr. Pepper on her clinic's patient roster. Patients are asked to call on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays only, as staff will be on-hand on those days to process the calls.

Patients will be contacted by the Cobourg Medical Centre staff for an introductory appointment. Dr. Pepper cautions that it could take several months before all patients accepted into her practice will receive their first calls.

"While every doctor wants to work in a community where their services are needed, the prospect of being flooded with callers is a challenge-both for me and the practice I'm joining! I thank everyone in advance for their patience as I try my best to bring as many into my practice as possible."

"The CPRRC committee was introduced to Dr. Pepper several years ago when she was at the hospital on a student rotation," said Mary-Jo Bathe, CPRRC recruitment coordinator. "Many conversations have occurred since then, to keep west Northumberland top-of-mind; we're very pleased to see that she has decided to bring her talents to us!"

Born in Cobourg in 1978, Dr. Pepper grew up in the area. She completed an undergraduate degree in Physiotherapy at McGill University in Montreal and attended medical school at McMaster.

A poll conducted this summer by the Ontario College of Family Physicians (OCFP) estimates that between 663,000 and 879,000 Ontarians are without a family doctor, including almost a quarter of a million who are over the age of 50. Here in west Northumberland, the CPRRC estimates that 10,000 - 12,000 individuals are currently without a family physician, translating to an immediate need for five to seven family physicians. Another five physicians will be required to replace those expected to retire over the next five years, the Committee estimates.

Dr. Pepper is the third family physician successfully recruited to the area by the CPRRC. Dr. Stacey Jennings (currently practicing in Cobourg) and Dr. Colin Dahle (completing his studies) were also attracted to the area with the help of the efforts of the CPRRC. Dr. Dahle expects to open his practice in the new year. Details will follow regarding the process for intake at his clinic when plans are finalized. A fourth family physician has also relocated to the area. He too is working in the Emergency Department of the Northumberland Hills Hospital and he is finalizing his plans in the community. An announcement regarding opportunities with this physician's practice are expected shortly.

Says Joan Ross, outgoing President and CEO of the Northumberland Hills Hospital, and a member of the CPRRC: "Thanks to the arrival of physicians like Dr. Pepper and several others on the immediate horizon, we're well on our way to stable physician staffing levels in the Emergency Department. We should be fully staffed by June 2009. This will reduce the hospital's projected deficit, as we can cut back on our reliance on expensive outside agency support to staff our ED."

About the Community Physician Recruitment and Retention Committee
Formed in 2001, the Community Physician Recruitment and Retention Committee (CPRRC) is a volunteer group of citizens representing community agencies and businesses, municipalities, physicians and the Northumberland Hills Hospital. Chaired by local resident Kim Rudd, the Committee's mandate is to attract new family physicians to the area and to lead efforts helpful in retaining the excellent family physicians working in our communities today.

Download News Release - pdf

COMMITTEE ATTRACTS SOON-TO-GRADUATE FAMILY PHYSICIAN

NORTHUMBERLAND COUNTY, MONDAY, July 7, 2008 - The members of the Community Physician Recruitment and Retention Committee (CPRRC) are pleased to announce the successful recruitment of Dr. Colin Dahle. Currently completing his studies in family medicine, Dr. Dahle plans to graduate in January 2009 and set up a family practice in the community shortly after.

"Our committee was introduced to Dr. Dahle several years ago when he was in the area on a student rotation, said Kim Rudd, CPRRC Chair. "We met with him again in August 2007, when he returned for three weeks as a resident in the Northumberland Hills Hospital's Emergency Department. We were very hopeful at that time that we could ultimately convince him to settle in our area. I'm pleased to announce that this is, in fact, how it has turned out."

Born in Manitoba, Dr. Dahle grew up in Oshawa. He attended medical school at the University of Sydney in Australia from 2001 to 2005 but family connections drew him back to the area. He is currently in the final stage of his two-year family medicine residency at Queen's University in Kingston.

"The fact that we're targeting family physicians who have not yet completed their studies speaks volumes about the climate facing communities today in their search for more family physicians, said Ms. Rudd. "Students such as Dr. Dahle have many opportunities to choose from, and the onus is on the community to actively demonstrate its benefits. This is the approach we took with Dr. Dahle and it's the approach we hope to use to attract more family physicians in the future."

An estimated 10,000 - 12,000 individuals in west Northumberland are currently without a family physician.

Those hoping to find a place in Dr. Dahle's future practice will have to wait a bit longer before getting an opportunity to contact him. With graduation set for January 2009, he will not be in a position to set up a practice until the winter of that year.

"At this point, the Committee simply wants to confirm that we have successfully recruited a new physician to our area, and to give the community a sense of the timeframe in which he hopes to be opening his practice," said Ms. Rudd. "Dr. Dahle will share more details as they become available later this winter."

About the Community Physician Recruitment and Retention Committee
Formed in 2001, the Community Physician Recruitment and Retention Committee (CPRRC) is a volunteer group of citizens representing community agencies and businesses, municipalities, physicians and the Northumberland Hills Hospital. Chaired by local resident Kim Rudd, the Committee's mandate is to attract new family physicians to the area and to lead efforts helpful in retaining the excellent family physicians working in our communities today.

Contact: Mary-Jo Bathe, Community Physician Recruitment and Retention Coordinator, 905-377-7797 or mjbathe@nhh.ca.

More News

While settling into a new community and seeing new patients. Northumberland Hills Hospital's new obstetrician-gynecologist Asiya Hameed has an additional priority: enhancing women's-wellness services.

Expanding and strengthening the services offered at the hospital's Clay and Elaine Elliott Women's Health Centre is something Dr. Hameed looks forward to - for example, she will now be able to provide colonoscopies locally.

Interviewed in her new office in the hospital's maternity wing, she displays a gentle manner and a ready smile. recalling that even as a girl growing up in India, she was keen to enter the medical profession.

"I had not thought about a specialty but, as I trained in my initial few years, I found my interests lie more with women. I have more empathy with them and felt I could understand them more and would be able to offer them more." she said. "I felt more professionally fulfilled when I look after women and especially in obstetrics."

As the second obstetrician gynecologist in the area, she joins Dr. Michael Green in offering these services. And the fact that she's a woman makes it a strong complement. Her sense is that some women prefer a female obstetrician-gynecologist though certainly not in every case.

Dr. Asiya Hameed officially opened her office December 17. She specializes in obstetrics and gynecology.
Photo by Ted Amsden

She referred to an intense survey in the United Kingdom of women on that very topic.

"Surprisingly. the outcome was no preference as such," she said. "But when you talk to women, it's more or less obvious they are happier to be with a woman.

This study didn't prove it either way but in my work in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, I felt strongly the women were happy to have me as a gynecologist-obstetrician. When I was leaving they were quite sad - and I was sad to leave them. Saskatchewan is an extremely friendly province with lovely people."

The move was made for family reasons, she explained. With no extended family in Canada, her immediate family is very important to her.

"We felt we have more long-term prospects in Ontario." she said.

Her husband's work in heavy-equipment rentals took him to Toronto, and the family followed. Her son, who was at the University of Saskatchewan, is now in his third year as a kinesiology major at York University.

"He's very keen on health care, and I hope he achieves his goals," she said with a fond smile.

Once she made the decision to move to Ontario, she had several prospects. Northumberland Hills Hospital among them. She saw the hospital's ad in a professional journal and contacted vice-president of patient-care services Mary Anne Shill.

"She was very helpful," Dr. Hameed recalled. "I said I had to make a decision regarding my son's university and I had a couple of other options to choose from with some other hospitals, so I explained I had very little time. She arranged an early guided visit.

"I was very pleased with the administration here. They were very kind and extremely helpful in helping me make the decision.

"I wanted to be closer to Toronto, and Cobourg is an ideal community." she declared.

"I find the hospital so helpful and co-operative, making me feel comfortable in starting my practice here - with office premises in the hospital, which is very helpful. They are doing everything to help me with my work. I hope I live up to their expectations!"
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