Popular opinion tells us that most voters, taxpayers, citizens – all of us ordinary people – are somewhat and rightfully skeptical of the promises and protestations of politicians, and especially so at voting time. That’s why I try to deny being a politician which makes my wife scoff.
Thinking again of the exciting hours of campaigning for election, I remember all of us recognized the dearth of family-practice physicians committed to staying in Chetwynd for longer than a locum. Our resident doctors were working hard to recruit but the long-time spring in South Africa had dried up. Recruiting efforts had to be directed elsewhere.
The Council Health Services Committee under the leadership of Ernest Pfanner met several times with Dr. Venter and Northern Health to plan recruiting strategy. Councillor Pfanner and I met once with the Northern Health Board regarding the crisis that could develop if health-care personnel were not recruited.
Ultimately, we realized that if we were to recruit successfully, we would have to face the challenge head on. This is not to say that Northern Health was not helpful or sympathetic to the pending crisis in Chetwynd or that the resident doctors were shirking in their efforts to recruit. Far from it. It was and it is a three- or four-way effort. Council has a role; Northern Health has a role; the resident doctors have a role; the community has a role. And believe it or not, all four entities played a part in the story that I am telling.
Go back to September, 2012. Northern Health is planning a recruiting expedition to Britain in November and has requested ideas and materials for promoting Chetwynd. Materials are provided and some very attractive promotional objects are created. At the same time, Dr. Venter is sending out his own signals that elicit some hopeful responses. Maybe that is a light we see at the end of the tunnel!
All the while the fourth entity is quietly working behind the scenes. A young family had moved to town. This young family invites two young friends to visit. Remember this is September and Mayor and Council are attending the UBCM convention so we are unaware of what is going on. Upon returning I learn of the visit of the young doctor and his wife.
Without waiting for time to pass, we package up the best of Chetwynd in full color and sound and send it to this young couple with a friendly, inviting letter. Christmas approaches; we send a card reminding them of how we appreciated their visit.
January: The doctor visits, works for a week, and the Health Services Committee meets him to dine and chat and be friendly. We send another letter of appreciation for the interest he is taking in Chetwynd.
February 13: A letter from Northern Health informs Council that the doctor has committed to moving to Chetwynd in July when his Residency in Family Practice is complete. And while this is happening, Dr. Venter is working out the details with another young physician. And then there were two.
Thanks to Dr. Venter, Northern Health, and you. This is what can happen when we pull together for a common goal.
Merlin Nichols, Mayor