01/31/2013 01:05 EST | Updated 04/02/2013 05:12 EDT

Interior Health sets A-list, launches initiative to attract physicians

KAMLOOPS, B.C. - Twelve Interior B.C. communities or hospitals have been placed on a so-called "A-list" as the Interior Health Authority searches the globe for doctors willing to come to this province.

Clearwater Mayor John Harwood says the list is part of an Interior Health initiative dubbed "Better Here," aimed at encouraging doctors to relocate to B.C. regions lacking physicians.

He says his district, 125 kilometres north of Kamloops, was included on the A-list because it needs three more doctors to serve its roughly 5,000 residents.

According to Harwood, Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops may also be on the list because the facility has a shortage of anaesthetists.

Dozens of communities across B.C., from Enderby to Logan Lake, Chase, Princeton, Lake Cowichan, Alert Bay, and numerous northern districts and towns are searching for physicians.

Two South African doctors arrived Monday in the town of Ashcroft, to alleviate a shortage there, but other communities, such as Princeton, have been forced to cut hours in local emergency rooms to cope with similar shortages. (CHNL)