Volume 93, Issue 50

November 26, 1999


Council votes overwhelmingly for $3.60 apology

BOG tables recommendations

Plagiarizing gets harder

Canada loses international appeal

Choose your own adventure

Conference targets medicine



Conference targets medicine

By Tola Afolabi
Gazette Staff

Getting more doctors in Ontario's boondocks was the focus of a conference at Queen's University, held yesterday by the Council of Ontario Faculties of Medicine.

The physician shortage in Ontario is in severe need of attention, said Ken Milne, medical student co-ordinator of the Southwestern Ontario Rural Medicine unit. Milne said if the problem is not addressed soon, it could pose serious threats to medical service. "We need more doctors. We are 330 short in southwestern Ontario. We are more underserviced than northern Ontario," he said.

Sarita Verma, conference spokesperson, said the conference would shed more light on the problem. "One of the ways to get people to go to rural areas is to actually start to educate people in these areas," she said.

Instead of students performing internships at bigger hospitals, Verma said COFM's intent was to shift medical focus to learning community-based programs which would help increase physician numbers in rural areas. "Most of education occurs at big hospitals," she said, adding these students later become doctors in urban areas, leaving rural areas underserviced.

Daniel Stresbhourgh, spokesperson for the Ministry of Health, said the Ministry is aware of the shortage and last July, appointed someone to examine the situation. "[The report is] going to allow us to examine med school enrollment and physician human resource policy and allocation of postgraduate medical training positions," he said, adding the initial report is expected by the end of the year.

At the moment, the Ministry uses the amount of pay to discourage doctors from practicing in urban areas. "It's an ongoing initiative to recruit doctors and retain them where they are needed. If [physicians] are located in areas where there is a big demand, our payment structure is different.

"We're certainly focused and we're giving a strategic push to solving this physician problem. Of course it's important to have adequate physician access to health care and medical attention in all communities," he said.

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Copyright The Gazette 1999