Georgetown Hospital was front and centre as a number of perspective new doctors came to town Tuesday evening. A total of 15 family medicine residents from McMaster University, the University of Western Ontario and the University of Toronto spent the evening in Halton Hills learning about opportunities available to them should they decide to set up practice in Halton Hills. The event was organized and hosted by Halton Healthcare Services, the Halton Hills Physician Recruitment and Retention Advisory Committee and Halton Region, with help from Halton Hills Chamber of Commerce. The evening consisted of a tour of Georgetown Hospital followed by dinner and presentations from local Georgetown family physician Dr. Jeff Sutherland and Halton Hills Mayor Rick Bonnette. The residents are in their final year of training and are investigating communities in which they might establish a practice in 2006 or 2007. "We are pleased to have this opportunity to show the residents what Halton Hills has to offer," said Halton Hills Mayor Rick Bonnette, "Not only do we have a welcoming and supportive medical community, but the visiting residents are interested in hearing about the amenities and desirable lifestyle that our Town has to offer." "This was a great opportunity for us to showcase Georgetown Hospital and Halton Healthcare Services," said Cindy McDonell, Chief Operating Officer at Georgetown Hospital. "We were very encouraged by the number of residents who expressed an interest in our hospital and are hopeful they will choose to join us." One of the residents on the tour has already chosen Halton Hills as the location of her future practice. Dr. Dhanya Jayalath will be opening her office in Acton in mid-September. She is currently completing her residency at the University of Western Ontario in London and will move relocate to Acton with her husband, Jude. Not only is Jayalath establishing herself in Acton, but she will also have hospital privileges at Georgetown Hospital. Halton is currently facing a shortage of more than 35 family physicians, and three of Halton's four municipalities, including the Town of Halton Hills, have been designated "under-serviced" by the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care on the basis of patient-to-family physician ratio.
Georgetown physician Dr. Wei Chu (left) gave Dr. Dhanya Jayalath a tour of the cast room of the emergency department at Georgetown Hospital as part of the tour of hospital facilities to attract perspective new doctors to set up their practice in Halton Hills. Jayalath has already chosen Acton as the home of her new practice and will also have hospital privileges at Georgetown Hospital. The Halton Physician Recruitment Initiative was established in 2002 to address Halton's shortage of family physicians through a marketing and promotion strategy, and to date has resulted in more than 60 new family doctors practising in Halton Region. The initiative is a collaborative effort between Halton Region and the other members of the Physician Recruitment and Retention Advisory Committee, which includes representatives from the local municipalities of Burlington, Halton Hills, Milton and Oakville, local physicians and senior area hospital staff. More information can be found at www.physicianopportunities.ca.