Terrace may be going through a severe shortage of family physicians, but there’s no such lack of emergency room doctors at Mills Memorial Hospital, reports the Northern Health Authority.
As many as 20 physicians rotate in and out of the ER which has 10 treatment spaces.
Of that total, 4.2 positions are staffed by career ER doctors while another 16 divide up 4 full-time equivalent jobs, making for a overall complement of 8.2 full-time equivalent doctors.
“The emergency department at Mills Memorial Hospital is fully staffed and there are no coverage concerns at this time or coming months,” said Northern Health official Eryn Collins.
Those 16 physicians who divide up the 4 full-time equivalent positions come from all over, she added.
“There are family doctors who remain family doctors and who do shifts in the emergency department … they’re not necessarily Terrace-specific family doctors, but a combination of local, nearby and locum (from further away) physicians,” Collins continued.
The kind of doctor providing emergency room care at hospitals the size of Mills Memorial has changed over the years from almost exclusively having family physicians with their own practices share the responsbility to career emergency room doctors who have undergone specialized training.
Unlike family doctors who bill by each patient seen and who essentially run their own businesses, doctors in emergency rooms are paid a shift rate.
Emergency room care in Terrace and area is slated to expand from the 10 treatment spaces at the current Mills Memorial to 20 treatment spaces when the new Mills opens in approximately two years.
Northern Health has yet to indicate how many ER physicians it will need then.