Volume 92, Issue 89

Wednesday, March 17, 1999


Higher bus pass fee LTC driven

Bank invests in violence awareness

Rezs not surfing Wave

Western alumnus not very proud of gay research

New nurses applauded

Southwestern Ontario wants Western meds


Minor crises no match for UPD

Caught on campus

Southwestern Ontario wants Western meds

By Dave Yasvinski
Gazette Staff

Doctors appealed to the municipal government last week to help alleviate the critical shortage of physicians in southwestern Ontario's rural areas.

A four-point action plan issued to Ontario members of provincial parliament by the Southwestern Ontario Rural Medicine unit of Western calls for an increase to the number of physicians trained at Western. It also asks for more student residency positions with a focus on rural and regional medicine.

"What we need to do is educate more doctors in southwestern Ontario. With the population of Canada aging it is clear we need to take action now," said James Rourke, director of SWORM.

Stephanie Page, administrative assistant for SWORM, said it is extremely important for them to get the MPPs on their side. "We're trying to get them to make the [provincial] government aware this is crucial. They don't see the problem – they're sitting pretty in Toronto with all their docs," she said.

This is not an issue where there is one simple answer, said Bob Wood, conservative MPP for London South. He added the problem which needs to be solved is how to make doctors want to practice in rural areas. "We have to look at what it is they don't like.

"There is no doubt there are significant areas of the province which are underserviced. The government plans to address this," Wood said.

While he is open to every suggestion brought forward, Wood added there is only a finite amount of money available to find a solution. "Most of the ideas have merit, but ultimately we have to find the best way to use the resources – we haven't gotten to that stage yet."

Marion Boyd, MPP for London Centre and health and seniors critic for the New Democratic Party, said while there are many good points in the plan, she could not agree with the 30 per cent increase at this time. Although this issue concerns everyone, she said there might be better ways to address the immediate problems of rural communities.

"The Ministry of Health would be very well advised to look at a comprehensive plan rather than throwing money at specific areas," she said. "I haven't seen any response from the current government which is adequate to the concerns of southwest Ontario."

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Copyright The Gazette 1999