Government must work with provinces to address the crisis in family medical professionals
Wed 23 Feb 2011OTTAWA – Today’s announcement of a few dozen more rural doctors falls far short of what’s needed. When millions of Canadians are without a family doctor we need a long-term strategy for solving this crisis, not a band-aid, according to New Democrat Health Critic Megan Leslie.
New Democrats are highlighting that this is a fraction of what is needed to properly address the shortage of medical professionals in Canada, especially for remote and rural communities.
When Jack Layton met with Stephen Harper last week, he stressed the need to address the family doctors and nursing crisis.
“While heartening for the families who will benefit, around 100 new doctors is just a drop in the bucket when it comes to the actual shortage of family physicians and nurses in Canada,” said Leslie. “The Conservatives aren’t even coming close to addressing the urgent needs of Canadians in rural and remote communities.”
In the 2008 Federal election campaign, New Democrats proposed a long-term health human resources strategy that included training 1200 doctors and 6000 nurses, and forgiving student loans for health professionals who practise family medicine for 10 years, in order to keep health professionals where the greatest need is – in local communities.
“Dispatching MPs & unelected senators across the country to make this announcement again and again is very cynical old-school politics,” said Leslie. “This looks like another campaign-style announcement from the Conservatives, not a serious attempt to deal with a major crisis.
“The Conservatives seem to have sent out as many MPs and Senators to make this announcement as the number of new doctors they plan to hire.”