IHA hopes to restore ultrasound service by April

  • Feb. 22, 2011 5:00 a.m.

Even with two ultrasound technologists on leave and one who recently resigned, Thalia Vesterback, director of diagnostic imaging for Interior Health, is hoping to have Castlegar’s ultrasound machine staffed by April.“I can’t promise how many days it is … but it is a goal,” she told Castlegar City Council on Monday night.Interior Health is advertising for temporary contract positions in the Kootenay Boundary to help reduce wait lists and workloads, as well as full and part-time positions.“There’s a worldwide shortage of ultrasound technologists,” Vesterback said.Another problem with recruitment, she noted, is that private clinics offer signing bonuses of as much as $35,000 — something Interior Health isn’t able to do.Advertisements have also been circulating throughout the United States, but those recruitments involve hoops to jump through.“They hired a technologist from the States in Kamloops and it took them almost a year [to process the paperwork],” Vesterback said.There are 21 open ultrasound technologist positions across Interior Health right now, and with 24 grads coming out of the British Columbia Institute for Technology’s program next year, Vesterback is hoping to recruit some of them to work in this region. She’s putting the idea on the table early by visiting the school next week.“I think this is the right step forward,” Coun. Kevin Chernoff said, explaining that part of the problem with the originally planned ultrasound move was a lack of communication.“Those are things we don’t readily know if they don’t tell us,” Chernoff said of the IHA recruitment strategy.