County still playing a role in doctor recruitment: Warden

ANTIGONISH: Despite having a new community navigator position filled, the Warden of the Municipality of the County of Antigonish says they still play a role in the recruitment and retention of health practitioners.

Warden Owen McCarron said the county will continue to supplement and support the work done by their new community navigator, Sarah O’Toole, across the three-year pilot project.

“The mayor and myself have made a commitment,” McCarron said. “When COVID lifts and we have an opportunity to do more face-to-face, then we’ll still have a presence around chatting with folks when they come into the community.”

The warden suggested they’re looking forward to O’Toole expanding on the groundwork that has already been done on a volunteer basis.

With a partnership between the Town of Antigonish, the municipality and the St. Martha’s Regional Hospital Foundation, the new position was created to steer the Community Navigation and Physician Retention Services Association (CNPRSA).

In October 2020, the two municipalities signed an inter-municipal agreement to create the association and the paid position of community navigator.

O’Toole and the CNPRSA will work with the community, local physicians and businesses to engage support and encourage physician integration and retention in the community.

“And (we’ll) certainly work with our navigator,” he said. “To make sure that when we do have a person coming into the community they actually see and understand the value Antigonish has for new doctors and physicians coming into our beautiful area.”