For some time, Lethbridge has experienced a shortage of family physicians, leaving many residents unattached to a physician to provide them with primary care. We recognize this need and the pressure it puts on our emergency department at the Chinook Regional Hospital as residents seek the care they need. At the City of Lethbridge, we are supporting the work being done by AHS South Zone and their allied partners, such as the Chinook Primary Care Network. Alberta Health holds the responsibility of recruiting physicians, but we know that we play an important role in promoting Lethbridge as a great place for physicians and their families to live, work and play.
Lethbridge City Council is supporting this work through the
Gateway to Opportunity – 2022 Lethbridge City Council Work Plan
and highlighted this as an advocacy priority. We know our residents need access to primary care and we are confident our collaborative approach will result in more family physicians choosing to make Lethbridge their home.
Chinook Regional Hospital
Alberta Health Services
Chinook Primary Care Network
Doctor Jobs Alberta
Building a Family Medical Practice
University of Lethbridge
Physician Recruitment Action Plan
Recognizing the critical need the City of Lethbridge faces, on May 10, City Council approved a physician shortage action plan. We are working with community partners such as AHS-South Zone, the Chinook Primary Care Network (CPCN) and Economic Development Lethbridge and together we are creating a robust family physician recruitment and retention strategy for our community. The Action Plan is built on four pillars of support:
efforts and initiatives our partners are executing, the City of Lethbridge has the capacity and expertise to connect current and potential partners in this work.
This includes research into success found in other municipalities and
organizations in Alberta, exploring interest of private businesses and
developers, etc. The goal is to create a Made for Lethbridge solution.In
May 2022, the City, AHS-South Zone and the Chinook Primary Care Network hosted a community information
session for community partners and stakeholders to share our collaborative work
results and next steps.
Advocacy to the
provincial government is a key component of the strategy. This includes working
with our local MLAs and with Alberta Health, as recruitment of physicians
remains in the jurisdiction of the Province of Alberta. Mayor Hyggen hosted a
meeting with the Hon. Jason Copping, Minister of Health in December 2021 and
administration continues to work with the ministry in creating solutions. We are advocating for support for an Academic Teaching Clinic in Lethbridge,
an important resource that will help attract physicians and a Cardiac
Catheritization Lab. Additional advocacy work includes working with the Ministry
of Mental Health and Addictions, which has brought the VODP (Virtual Opioid
Dependency Program) to Lethbridge. The City also continues its advocacy work
for improved EMS dispatch and ground ambulance services.
We want physicians interested in calling Lethbridge home to have the best experience of Lethbridge early on. At the May 10 meeting, City Council approved an allocation of $15,000 to support a marketing campaign. We created a council-funded advocacy video, which is found on this page. It speaks to the quality of life in Lethbridge and to what is available to physicians and their families if they choose to make Lethbridge home. This video is a community asset and we encourage groups to make use of it! The marketing campaign will include advertising in select medical journals (print and online) and a targeted campaign on select social media platforms.
We are hopeful to partner with neighbouring municipalities who are experiencing the same physician recruitment shortages that the City of Lethbridge is experiencing. Looking further out, we know that in order to thrive in the competitive clinic environment, we need to be innovative in clinic setup and practices. Incentives and grant programs provided by Opportunity Lethbridge might make the difference in physicians choosing Lethbridge over another community.