Team Delta mayoral candidate Sylvia Bishop. (Grace Kennedy photo)

Bishop proposes City of Delta scholarships for prospective doctors

If elected, mayoral candidate Sylvia Bishop will take steps to attract more doctors to the city.

Sylvia Bishop has announced a suite of scholarships, bursaries and grants for locals pursuing careers in health care that she will create if elected Delta mayor come October.

Bishop’s “Pathway to Health-Care Careers” initiative is the second component of her slate’s five-part action plan on health care, which she debuted as part of Team Delta’s campaign “kick-off” on Aug. 20 at Ladner Fisherman’s Hall.

According to a press release issued Thursday afternoon, up to $95,000 per year would be made available to young Delta residents or high school graduates seeking health-related careers in medicine, science or care-giving.

The initiative would be funded by the city using revenue generated from Gateway Casinos & Entertainment’s new gaming facility, to be built at the site of the Delta Town & Country Inn. The new casino is expected to bring the City of Delta between $1.5 to $3.0 million annually.

RELATED: Delta casino gets the green light from city

“Everyone knows that the Fraser Health Authority, which delivers many of the health-care services needed by Delta residents, has the lowest proportion of family physicians in British Columbia,” Bishop said in a press release.

“At the same time, Delta’s population is growing and aging, so it is increasingly evident that our city has an urgent need for additional physicians, nurses and other health-care providers. If Team Delta is successful in the local-government elections on Oct. 20, we intend to address that challenge and improve the health services available to local residents.”

Earlier this week, Bishop unveiled the first component of Team Delta’s action plan on health care, whereby a portion of the projected casino revenue would be used by her proposed City of Delta economic development office to attract and retain family practice doctors.

The plan included a number of possible financial incentives to entice doctors to open or move their practices to Delta, including providing low-interest or forgivable loans, free or low-cost “community membership fees,” subsidized re-location expenses, and “practice-establishment support” such as helping doctors find nurses and office staff, arranging office and utility contracts, etc.

READ MORE: Bishop unveils plan to attract more doctors to Delta

This latest announcement builds on that plan, proposing an array of financial programs to aid local students who wish to pursue a career in a health-related fields. The hope is to encourage recipients to stay in Delta to pursue their careers or return to their hometown to practice after graduating from a post-secondary institution or medical school located elsewhere in B.C. or Canada.

“We want to help young people who attend and graduate from Delta schools as they set out on a career in health care, with the understanding that many or all later could practice or work in Delta and deliver superb health care for our growing and aging population,” Bishop said.

Included in the press release was a budgeted break-down of the 44 scholarships, bursaries and grants included in the plan.

Twenty “Excellence in Science” scholarships, each valued at $1,250, would be available annually to graduands at Delta high schools — 10 girls and 10 boys. Successful applicants must have achieved excellent grades in science and wish to pursue a post-secondary education. The total cost to city would be up to $25,000 per year.

As well, 10 “Science Studies and Financial Need” bursaries, each valued at $2,500, would be available to graduands at Delta high schools — five girls and five boys. Successful applicants must have achieved commendable grades in science; wish to pursue a post-secondary education in science, a health-related field or caregiving; and demonstrate a personal and family financial need. The total cost to the city would be up to $25,000 per year.

Four “First-Year Medical School Tuition” grants, two for boys and two for girls, each valued at $5,000, would be available to Delta high school graduates who have successfully completed post-secondary studies and wish to enroll in a medical school in B.C. or Canada. The total cost to the city would be up to $20,000 annually.

Also, five “Registered Nurse/Nurse-Practitioner Training Education Tuition” grants , each valued at $3,000, would be made available to Delta high school graduate who have successfully completed two years of study at a post-secondary institution in B.C. and wishes to pursue a career either as a RN or a nurse practitioner at an accredited B.C. institution. The total cost to the city would be up to $15,000 annually.

Finally five “Health Care First Year Tuition” grants, each valued at $2,000, would be made available to a Delta high school graduate who is in need of financial assistance to pursue first-year studies in a health related field, including pharmacy, nutrition, health sciences, midwifery, kinesiology or any accepted field of endeavour. The total cost to the city would be up to $10,000 annually.

The civic election takes place on Saturday, Oct. 20, 2018.

SEE ALSO: 26 candidates and counting for Delta civic election



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