By Rebecca Tucker
Ryerson’s Health Centre has a full stable of doctors, but there seems to be money for more.
And with the average income for salaried practitioners in Canada at $106,704, Ryerson could be spending upwards of $300,000 for doctors to hand out condoms and administer flu shots.
The centre, which already has two full-time and two part-time doctors, recently filled a part-time position and is seeking yet another doctor to cover a one-hour shift on Mondays, when there are only two doctors at the clinic.
There are usually at least three on a given day.
“These positions are ideal for students just coming out of school, or for young professionals just establishing themselves,” said Dr. Su Ting Teo, the centre’s acting co-ordinator. “Many of our applicants have practices elsewhere, so they’re able to fill in just a few days a week.”
The centre posted the job on the Ryerson website at the beginning of August and was originally closed at the end of September. But they’ve extended it to the end of October to land one more doctor.
Teo said it’s difficult to find staff who will work on a part-time basis during the eight-month school year and can afford to take summers off.
“There are restrictions as to how many doctors we can hire,” she said. “We try to make the working conditions positive and enjoyable, but there’s very little demand for services during the summer months, so we need fewer physicians.”
Individual physicians at the Ryerson Health Centre see about 20 to 25 students per day.
Teo said there is usually a high volume of applicants for vacant positions. For the recently-filled part-time position, there were 20 applicants, which she whittled down to five interviewees.
Most family doctors in Canada are compensated on a pay-per-service basis, so the more patients they see, the more money they make.
But doctors at the Health Centre are paid on salary, meaning they get a paycheque whether they treat any patients or not.
Lev Szczesniak, a Ryerson film student, said he’d opt for one of the many “professional” hospitals in the area before going to the clinic for medical advice. “The hospitals are well-equipped,” he said.
“I’m just more confident that they’d be able to deal with whatever problems I’d have.”
Brian Gordon, a third-year student, said the centre is convenient, and that the general services they provide are similar to those of family doctors many students who live far from home can no longer access.
“It would be convenient for me to use the Heath Centre if I needed to, because it’s right on campus,” Gordon said.