Bonus offered to docs.

Six-figure incentive to fill rural doctor shortage.

The B.C. government and the B.C. Medical Association last week added another incentive to entice physicians to relocate and fill select rural positions.

In addition to the existing debt-forgiveness program, doctors willing to practice in select communities will receive a $100,000 golden hello from the province.

The sign-on bonus was announced by Health Minister Margaret MacDiarmid and BCMA president Dr. Shelley Ross last Wednesday.

In total, seventeen communities received funding for the incentives with Port Hardy funded for two new general practitioner positions. The successful applicants will receive a $50,000 payment upfront with the balance paid after one year. The physicians must commit to the position for a minimum of three years and if they leave before that time they forfeit the payment and must repay the full amount.

Elsewhere in the Vancouver Island Health Authority, Port Alberni has an emergency physician position funded while Tofino and Galiano Island will offer the incentive to one general practitioner each.