by Kathy Johnson
Physician recruitment efforts by the Municipality of Barrington have paid off, with the arrival of a new doctor last week.
Dr. Manel Premachandra began seeing patients last Monday at Dr. Lily Abud's office in Barrington Passage. He expects to begin registering patients by March 24.
"Dr. Manel," as he will be known by his patients, practiced family medicine for eight years in his native Sri Lanka before coming to Halifax in 2005.
Since that time he has been busy taking the numerous exams needed to be licensed under the Canadian medical system.
Dr. Manel will be mentored by Dr. Yee for the first 13 months he is in the community, and will practice medicine in the same office with Dr. Lily Abud.
"He (Dr. Yee) is an excellent mentor," said Shirley Watson-Poole, physician resource manager for South West Health, adding that was one of the main reasons Dr. Premachandra choose Barrington. "He had other choices, he could have gone other places," she said, noting "It's important for doctors from other countries to get good solid mentoring."
Dr. Manel, who is married with two daughters, says he plans to buy a home in the area for his family after he gets his practice up and running later this month. Once staffing is in place he will begin registering patients, likely by March 24, he said.
Dr. Manel is entering into a four year incentive agreement with the Municipality of Barrington. There was a collective sigh of relief among councillors at the March 1 committee of the whole meeting when discussions turned to the incentive package agreement.
"We saw just how big a bid is out there for doctors," said Warden Louise Halliday.
Under the agreement, the municipality is offering Dr. Premachandra $12,500 annually, in return for maintaining a fulltime practice in the community for the next four years.