Provinces try to recruit retired doctors as coronavirus spreads in Canada

British Columbia’s call for recently retired doctors to return to work if the COVID-19 pandemic worsens is spurring other provinces to make similar emergency preparations, says the registrar of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia.

Dr. Heidi Oetter said the college has emailed hundreds of physicians who left the job within the last two years to reregister for their licences, adding those with experience working in emergency rooms and intensive care units would be most needed.

“The real critical work comes when people are desperately ill, in hospital settings and on ventilators,” Oetter said.

“When I see doctors emailing me and saying, ‘I’m standing by, I’ll do it for free,’ I think we’ll get enough people,” she said.

“My understanding is there are other provinces that are actually assembling their lists. They’re doing their homework now and preparing in anticipation. I know that Alberta is making similar preparations as well.”

The college’s recruitment efforts come at the request of provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry.

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