Tuesday, August 13, 2013

August 13, 2013 RECORD NUMBER OF DOCTORS NOW PRACTISING IN MANITOBA: OSWALD The Manitoba government’s investments to expand the University of Manitoba’s medical school, create recruitment grants, and build and renew hospitals are paying off with a record 2,599 doctors now practising in Manitoba, Health Minister Theresa Oswald announced today. “Families want and deserve access to a doctor when they need one, close to home. Manitoba history clearly shows us that short-sighted decisions to cut health spending, physician training spaces and investments in hospitals is bad for Manitoba families and has long-lasting impacts on the health system,” said Oswald. “The number of doctors in our province continues to rise because our government knows health care is a top priority of Manitobans and we will not act on calls for haphazard cuts or privatization of the health system.” New registration statistics released by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Manitoba report a total of 2,599 physicians practising in Manitoba, 61 more than last year and an increase of 562 since 1999. “The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Manitoba is pleased to see the number of licensed medical practitioners in Manitoba rise as it has over the past 10 years,” said Dr. Bill Pope, registrar and chief executive officer of the college. “The result of the close working relationship that exists between the college, the faculty of medicine at the University of Manitoba and the Physician Resource Co-ordination Office is better health care for Manitobans.” The Manitoba government’s investments in expanding medical school spaces to 110 students per year has been one of the most important changes that has helped to reverse the exodus of doctors from Manitoba that was seen in the 1990s, the minister noted. From 1992 to 1998 the number of doctors working in Manitoba was reduced to 2,016 from 2,133, an overall loss of 117 practising physicians across the province. “In addition to expanding the medical school, we have also expanded the number of medical residencies to accommodate medical graduates from other jurisdictions,” Oswald said. Earlier this year, the Manitoba government announced $4.3 million to create 15 new medical residencies including in several rural communities. With a record 136 residency positions available this year and 105 graduating medical students, there is now more capacity to accept graduates from outside Manitoba, including Manitobans who studied medicine abroad, through the independent residency matching service that accepts the best possible candidates, the minister said. This year, nine Manitobans who studied overseas were accepted into residencies in Manitoba. “Manitoba has become a more attractive province to practise medicine in and more and more of the University of Manitoba’s medical school graduates are staying here for their residencies and to work after graduation,” said Dr. Brian Postl, dean of medicine. “With the support of the government of Manitoba, we’re also creating opportunities for qualified graduates from other universities including Manitobans who studied in other jurisdictions who want to return to our province.” Postl noted that decisions on filling residencies are made by medical schools with a view to matching competencies and medical needs across the country. The University of Manitoba has a target of filling 70 per cent of residencies with Manitobans, meaning graduates from the province and Manitobans who studied elsewhere are weighted higher in the review process, helping to get more doctors back into communities where they are likely to put down permanent roots, he said. - 30 -

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