#HealthJobHub Employer Spotlight: Malone Medical Clinic, Drayton Valley, Alberta
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Dr Michael Peyton and Dr Ros (Beacom) Peyton have celebrated a significant milestone in March 2019, when the pair celebrated their 34th anniversary as #familydoctors in Drayton Valley, Alberta, Canada and co-founders of the Malone Clinic.
A beautiful and inspiring story...
Michael was a medical student at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in 1975 in Edmonton and enjoyed both the city and surrounding area. He moved back to Ireland and 10 yeas later, he and his wife, Ros, also a practicing doctor, said that due to a combination of events they decided to move to Western Canada, chose Drayton Valley as their home community and founded the Malone Clinic. “We chose the name, Malone, because that was the name of the golf course Mike played on in Ireland and it was also the name of the university where he played sports,” explained Ros.
Michael noted that because of the way things were set up in the hospitals in Ireland, it could take as long as 10 years before doctors could call themselves specialists... “Our overall style and variety of work was very appealing to us in Drayton,” said Michael, who was working in cardiology and respiratory as his specialties. Ros was specializing in endocrinology and diabetes.
“When we originally came to Drayton, we were only going to stay two years before moving on, but we enjoyed the community and we're still here,” said Michael. “From the very first moment I landed in Canada, it was a happy feeling. It was so peaceful. Of course we worked at the height of the troubles in Belfast, from 1969 to the 80s. So when we were in medical school from 1971 to 1977, we were still working through those troubles. Getting to work was a trouble in itself. But we never regretted (moving to Drayton Valley). The community was just so welcoming and we raised two children here. And when we got here, Dr. Tony and Adele Freeman let us live in their beautiful cedar home for four months. And they had everything. The place was gorgeous and was on the back of a ski hill. That's when we thought that if we ever recruited anyone, we'd treat them the way we were treated. That lasted with us for many, many years, and that is why we recruited 22 people in 32 and a half years to come to Drayton Valley. We've always had a house for them,” said Ros.
Added Michael, “And fortunately the Physician Recruitment Committee appeared and they started taking over that role. Prior to that, we had to take over that role ourselves. “And it was private. New doctors didn't sign with the zone. It was private, so when they signed with the Malone Clinic, they couldn't work anywhere but the Malone Clinic. Nowadays with the zone, physicians sign a three or four year contract and they can work anywhere in the zone, which unfortunately, isn't that good for the private clinics.
“Another thing that was disappointing is that when we came here, there were 12 doctors in town. Six could do anaesthetics, six could do surgery, and 10 of us were doing deliveries, Nowadays doctors don't have the skills or the training to do those extra procedures, etc. Added Ros, “And they don't like what it does to your lifestyle. Mike and I were delivering 10 to 20 babies a month. Some years when there were 220 to 240 deliveries, Mike and I were delivering the majority of them in the latter stages. The younger doctors are into more lifestyle, and it puts a toll on your family. My son was into ice hockey, my daughter was into ringette, basketball, and soccer. I played soccer as well, and my daughter and I once played on the same soccer team. One of us usually got to a hockey or ringette game. When we were in the arena and a player was injured, somebody would ask, “Are Mike and Ros here?” People would go to the arenas where our kids were playing and they would track us down,” said Ros. “But that way, we felt like we were very much part of the community and they would call us by our first names,” added Michael.
“My kids hated going to the grocery store with me, because I could never get past the vegetable aisle without speaking to about 20 people. They'd talk about just getting out of the hospital, or about the new baby I'd delivered. Something like that. “There's always that feeling that when you go to the city and drive back to Drayton Valley, apart from the traffic, it's just that feeling of coming back to the country.
The Canadian graduates that come out of the U of C, they consider Drayton Valley “the country” as well as Rocky Mountain House, Rimbey and Barrhead..they're all slower communities than they'd like. “There's pressure on them during their residence to decide what they want to do. When they start working in the city, they like being able to be called an opthalmologist or an orthopedic rather than doing it all yourself.
Rural practice is definitely a specialty even though it's not treated as one, because when you're delivering a baby, as we did many, many times, at five o'clock in the morning, and there isn't a doctor in emergency at the hospital, a lot of the time you're it. And that's what I think a lot of younger people don't like about it. Quite a few years ago, there wasn't a doctor in emergency at all. Someone was called in from home and during daytime hours, if you had broken your elbow, and you were my patient, I would have gone to the hospital and left my patients here (in the clinic). Even if there were a doctor officially on-call, he might be in his practice as well. Then you left, and you say to another doctor, “Could you see some of my patients?” I'm not going to be back for a while. Then you got the call, “Could you come and help?” Those are things we never thought about being difficult,” said Ros. “These days, doctors are thinking about more nine to five work schedules,” added Michael.
At the moment, the Malone Medical Clinic is short of doctors, and the Peyton's are presently advertising for new docs to join, so if any Canadian doctors want to come, they are welcome to join the clinic. For more information about the excellent #job opportunities at Malone Medical Clinic, please click here:
In June 2019, Dr Michael Peyton was featured by Alberta Health Services as 'AHS Doc of the week", see article below:
“My wife (who I share my practice with) and I moved here (Drayton Valley) from Ireland 34 years ago and planned to stay for two years,” says Rural Family Physician, Dr. Michael Peyton. “I think people might be surprised that we’re still here, but we really enjoy it.”
Dr. Peyton cites the community connection as being the biggest reward for rural practice. The Peytons offer a family-friendly approach to their practice in Malone Clinic; they don’t wear white coats and they’re on a first-name basis with their patients.
“I’d highly recommend rural practice to emerging doctors,” says Dr. Peyton. “I find that we see a lot of variety and diversity in our patient care here and it’s offered us the opportunity to expand our skill set.”
Dr. Peyton and his wife are currently scaling back their involvement in the practice, not with a desire to stop working, but to gradually reduce the hours they put in.
When not at work, Dr. Peyton can be found golfing and watching hockey; specifically, cheering on the Edmonton Oilers, although he did mention he was happy to see the Calgary Flames doing so well this year."
Dr Michael Peyton and Dr Ros Peyton recently celebrated their 40Th wedding anniversary. We take this opportunity to wish this incredible couple many, many more joyous years of happiness and prosperity together. From all of us here in Alberta, Canada we thank you and salute you for your dedicated service as #physicians and #family doctors to the community of Drayton Valley over the past 34years in Canada 🇨🇦.