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North Perth FHT Discusses Accomplishments, Recruitment

By Shannon Duff -  Banner Staff

The North Perth Family Health Team (NPFHT) board of directors met recently for its annual general meeting to reflect on past accomplishments, and help pave the way for the next year.

Those were the words of NPFHT executive director Mary Atkinson, who said partnerships are a key strategy for building capacity, expertise and strength. These partnerships include collaboration with the North Huron Family Health Team, which participated with the NPFHT in an Advancing Quality through Governance workshop to continue improving deliver of care and governance. "The physicians group and family health team have achieved a great deal in integrating our clinical operations to improve our primary care services," said Atkinson. "With a continuous focus on improving patient access and experience in receiving health services, we participated in a quality improvement workshop looking at improving patient access and overall team functioning."

The result was an access committee, whose mandate is to develop, refine and improve our processes toward quicker and easier access for patients, she added.

Board Chairperson Debbie Miller reviewed some transition for the board, including Dr. Barry Neable's retirement in December 2013, and the addition of Dr. Lauren Hayward and Lindsay Hunsberger as directors. "dr. Hayward brings great insight to our board as a new physician and recent graduate, and Lindsay offers a unique human resources perspective," Miller said in her report. "Together board members add depth, knowledge, expertise and wisdom as each bring their unique skill sets to the team."

The transition to electronic medical records and a continued focus on health professional recruitment were tow key focal points over the last year, reported NPFHT medical director Dr. Terry Suggitt.

"There have been many new faces pass through our facility in the past year as we have had medical students, residents and nurse practitioner students spend part of their training with us," said Suggitt. "as a part of our recruitment strategy, we hope that some may choose to return for their career."

Recruitment Update

Healthcare professional recruiter Kim Kowch said recruitment at the North Perth Family Health Team celebrated growth and exposure in 2014.

"All initiatives center upon building program sustainability and enhanced awareness of what North Perth offers to candidates and their families," she reported. "offering personalized and first-hand experiences that nurture understanding of our exceptional medical facilities, friendly and progressive team and superior community amenities is a program goal."

In face, Dr. Hayward was a prior locum who was later welcomed into full-time practice with the Family Health Team in May 2014. "office locums, along with learner rotations, are excellent means of promotion our opportunities, while providing needed care to our patients," said Kowch.

promotional efforts in 2014 focused on tow strategic events; the expanded McMaster Resident Networking Dinner in Waterloo and the Wesern Family Medicine Resident retreat in Grand Bend.

Dr. Hayward was the primary speaker and the McMaster event, which highlighted the community of North Perth.

"Both events provide excellent means to foster new and build upon existing relationships with family medicine residents as they plan learning rotations and explore practice opportunities." Kowch stated in her report.

In 2014, North Perth hosted a full roster of mainly second-year family medicine residents from Western and McMaster's family medicine programs.

"We now accept two learners at a time, which doubles the exposure to our community to this important group," said Kowch. "One and two-month rotations provide an excellent taste of practice and life in our community, plus the added benefit of increased access to care for our patients... these relationships continue to be fostered beyond their rotation and have promising potential for the future."