Physician :: Ontario doctors applaud measures to increase physician supply

Ontario’s doctors welcomed the announcement by the provincial government to invite American-based Ontario-licensed physicians back to Ontario, and to increase the number of specialist residency training spaces.

“We have previously called for strong measures to be taken to repatriate Canadian physicians back to Ontario, and for greater choice in medical training,” said Dr. David Bach, President of the Ontario Medical Association (OMA). “Today the government has taken a step forward to ensure more patients have access to a physician.”

In the OMA’s 2002 physician supply report entitled Position Paper on Physician Workforce Policy and Planning, and in subsequent report updates, the OMA made a series of recommendations aimed at addressing the doctor shortage.

Included in those recommendations were the following:

Develop a new repatriation program aimed at recruiting Canadian trained physicians currently practicing in the United States.

Improve the flexibility of choice for medical students when determining their field of practice, and facilitate the ability to change field of practice during the training period. (Specifically, the OMA called for the government to create a medical student to resident ratio of 1:1.2 spaces.)

“By offering greater choice for medical residents, our new doctors will be able to choose a training program in line with their interests, thereby helping to keep them in Ontario,” said Dr. Bach. “Coupled with initiatives to attract the 3,000 Ontario-licensed physicians currently practicing in the United States back to Ontario, these efforts should have an impact on physician supply.”

The OMA has been working with the government through HealthForce Ontario to help develop initiatives and strategies to recruit Canadian-licensed physicians back to Ontario and recruit recent medical graduates to the province.

The OMA will be releasing an update on the physician supply situation in Ontario in the coming days.

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