North Bay Regional Health Centre officials say the doctor shortage isn’t as stark as a few years ago, but it’s something they must continually work on.

A delegation from the facility reported to council on the issue last night (Tuesday).

They indicated they’ll need to recruit an additional 10 doctors within the next five years and at least 8 more a few years after that.

Chief of Staff Dr. Donald Fung says that’s based on expected retirements in the next decade.

“And that number is based the fact that maybe 10 or 15 docs is retiring but each physician retiring has a much bigger population in their practice than a new physician can absorb,” he says.

Dr Fung says they have a pro active program in place to recruit family doctors.

10 new doctors have come to North Bay in the last couple of years.

He says when they started the initiative there were at least 6,000 patients locally without a doctor, and rising, and they’ve addressed that shortage.

President Paul Heinrich (standing in photo) says in combination with the city $500,000 is being spent on the recruitment effort because the new physicians are working inside and outside the hospital.

Recruitment funds from the city are not spent on specialists, as they don’t have outside offices.