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Health-care workers incentivized to live and work in Prince Rupert

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More health workers will be encouraged to move to Prince Rupert with part of $6.38 million in incentives and programs granted to facilitate better health care in the North, the Ministry of Health announced, on Sept 14.

“Every person living in the North deserves to have the best possible health care close to home, when and where they need it,” Adrian Dix, Minister of Health, said.

The health-care worker rural retention program for targeted communities and occupations is designed to offer financial incentives and support priority health-care workers. The provincial government will fund the program with $3 million, Northern Health Authority stated in a news release on the same day.

“We are helping more people choose the North by providing support for the unique challenges northern health workers face every day. That includes assistance with travel, housing and child care, plus real-time access to emergency medicine physicians 24/7,” Dix said.

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Further projects underway through partnerships between Northern Health and the province to meet the needs and benefit Prince Rupert healthcare workers are: $225,000 in funding to develop an expanded new net of child care spots for several communities; $750,000 to develop a housing program in communities where suitable market housing is a barrier to permanent staffing and short-term deployments.

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The province is also providing $645,000 for creating clinical management supports for Prince Rupert, and the northeast, which will build capacity to support new graduates, provide more resources for management competency development and improve management support systems.

“It’s important we invest not only in recruiting staff but in ensuring staff and physicians have the supports they need,” Colleen Nyce, board chair at Northern Health, said.

The Ministry of Health anticipates some of their announced projects can get started immediately, while others will need planning and hiring contractors in order to achieve the best possible outcome.

The total cost of all the announced programs for northern communities is expected to pass $6 million.

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