Whitby, Oshawa Clinic Group partner on family doctor incentive program for new health centre

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Published August 2, 2023 at 11:08 am

The Town of Whitby and the Oshawa Clinic Group have teamed up on a pilot project to recruit and retain ten new family doctors to the West Whitby Health Centre, set to open next summer.

The program will provide the doctors an incentive of $50,000 each over a five-year term to improve resident access to family physicians within Whitby as the community continues to grow.

Each physician will have an anticipated 1,000 patients by the third year, to be maintained over the remainder of the five years. The funding will be equally shared between the Town and the Oshawa Clinic Group, which owns the health centre.

The West Whitby Health Centre, located at the southwest corner of Des Newman Boulevard and Bonacord Avenue, is expected to be the largest private multidisciplinary medical group practice in Canada upon completion.

West Whitby Health Centre, now under construction

The new Family Physician Recruitment Incentive Partnership Pilot Program was approved by Whitby Council at a special Council meeting July 26 and Whitby Mayor Elizabeth Roy said she was happy to give the program her stamp of approval, noting that at least 230,000 Durham residents – more than 30 per cent of the region’s population – is without a family doctor.

“We know that Whitby – and all of Durham Region – faces a serious shortage of family physicians, which impacts the health and well-being of our residents. This gap will only increase as our community continues to grow,” she said. “When we were gathering feedback on our Community Strategic Plan, increasing access to family physicians was one of the top priorities shared by the community. This program takes concrete action to ensure our residents have access to quality health care close to home.”

By 2051, the Region’s population is expected to hit 1.3 million, with provincially mandated housing growth in place that will mean more infrastructure, family doctors, and mental health supports will be needed.

The four-storey, 154,000 square-foot West Whitby Health Centre will give residents access to a wide range of non-acute healthcare services, including family physicians, specialists, cardiology, physiotherapy, fertility, diagnostic imaging, laboratory, audiology and psychology. The clinic will also feature a walk-in urgent care centre.

“We are thrilled about the new pilot program with Whitby,” said Oshawa Clinic Group CEO Keith White. “This program is designed to help address the shortage of family physicians and service the residents of Whitby. The Oshawa Clinic Group has a strong history in Durham Region and we look forward to continued growth at our new location.”

The Oshawa Clinic Group broke ground on the new health centre in early 2021, at the same time as rumours about the group’s flagship location in downtown Oshawa being on the move started making the rounds.

Oshawa Clinic in downtown Oshawa

The future of the 75 year-old downtown clinic – given a historical designation by the City of Oshawa last year – is still officially unknown, though the Oshawa Clinic Group is still expected to have a presence in the building.

The group sold the building in 2014 and their current lease expires in 2024.

Rendering of the West Whitby Health Centre

 

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