Coordinating the 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.
Lethbridge is experiencing a shortage of family physicians, nurses and paramedics leaving many residents unattached to a physician and limiting their access to primary care. We recognize this need and the pressure it puts on other healthcare resources 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.
Healthcare 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 recruitment and retention strategy for our community. The Action Plan is built on four pillars of support:
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.
Exploring partnership opportunities
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.
910 4 Avenue South
Lethbridge, AB T1J 0P6
or 403-320-3111 (if outside of Lethbridge)