Health authority welcomes new full-time doctor

Dr. John Desmond is in Hay River with a year-long contract and says he and his family are looking forward to experiencing all the North has to offer. -- Sarah Ladik

Dr. John Desmond is in Hay River with a year-long contract and says he and his family are looking forward to experiencing all the North has to offer.
– Sarah Ladik

There’s a new doctor in town, and he’s here to stay – at least for a year.

“This has been on the radar for about four or five years,” said Dr. John Desmond, who has recently signed a one-year contract with the Hay River Health and Social Services Authority. “Things sort of all came together and we were able to make the move.”

Desmond moved with his wife and four young boys, whom he said are making the most of a Hay River summer. Desmond himself has been a locum doctor for the authority for years after hearing about the community from a colleague in medical school.

“He had a positive experience. I came up and found the same thing,” he told The Hub. “There are great people to work with and the interaction with the patients has been really good.”

Desmond, having moved with his family from New Brunswick, said that he and his wife have always loved travelling and thought coming north would be a good opportunity to see more of the country.

“What better adventure than to come to work and live in the NWT and see all the North has to offer?”

The authority has an active physician recruitment program, which has already netted one permanent doctor, Dr. Coralie Boudreau. Acting CEO Merle Engel said the authority was happy to add another to the roster.

“The Hay River Health and Social Services Authority is pleased to have Dr. John Desmond join our organization,” she wrote in an email to The Hub. “He has proven to be a great fit to our team. His professionalism and remarkable bedside manner has been noticed by staff and community members. We look forward to having the community meet Dr. Desmond and his lovely family throughout this next year.”

While the contract is only for a year, Desmond said he and his family currently do not have any plans for what could come after that year is up.

“Never say never,” he said, laughing when pressed for an answer. “We’re certainly examining our options, but it’s been great so far. We’ll have to see how it goes.”

– Sarah Ladik