For $50 per night, a temporary, fully-furnished apartment near the hospital awaits

A new housing program aims to tackle the shortage of health professionals in Campbell River by offering low-cost temporary accommodation and a friendly welcome.

For $50 per night, a fully-furnished apartment near the hospital will be available for between one week and three months on a first-come, first served basis, the city announced Friday. Utilities, water, wi-fi and weekly cleaning are included.

Health-care professionals will also receive welcome packages filled with products and services from local businesses.

The temporary program will apply to locum physicians and other essential health-care workers.

Campbell River, like other communities on the Island and elsewhere in B.C., is struggling to attract enough health-care professionals.

“One of the biggest barriers we face when looking to secure locum physicians to come to Campbell River is access to available, affordable housing,” said Sadie Mack, operations co-ordinator with the Campbell River and District Division of Family Practice.

The new initiative grew out of discussions between city officials and Dr. Jordyn Vanderveen, of the Campbell River and District Division of Family Practice, and Dr. Sol Gregory, of the Campbell River Medical Staff Engagement Initiative Society.

It intends to show local physicians how much they are valued by showing its eagerness to support them and their need to take time off, Mackie said.

It is hoped that it will increase the likelihood of new physicians coming to Campbell River and providing relief for the existing physicians, she said. This will ensure “that patients are getting the best care possible.”

Acting Mayor Susan Sinnott said short-term housing for locums is a challenge throughout the province.

“During peak season, short-term rentals are often unavailable and, consequently locum positions are left vacant,” she said.

“This gap increases wait times and reduces the care available at hospitals and clinics.”

Sinnott is optimistic that collaborating with local medical health organizations will address the issue and enhance health care.

The city expects that when rental service revenue is returned to the program it will allow additional health-care professionals to come to Campbell River.

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