In the face of a severe shortage of doctors, the federal government provided loan forgiveness to some doctors and nurses
In an effort to increase the number of doctors and nurses working in rural and remote areas, the federal government announced Tuesday that it will increase forgivable loans for some students.
Canada has a severe doctor shortage — a problem that is expected to get worse as the population grows and doctors retire en masse. Federal data suggests Canada will need approximately that 48,900 additional family doctors By 2031.
As did CBC News Previously mentionedthe number of medical residency slots has remained stagnant over the past decade, limiting the number of new doctors entering the field.
There is, too A tangle of routine That internationally educated doctors have to navigate before they can practice here – it’s an exhausting, years-long process. Thousands of Canadian-born doctors were forced to leave for the United States
The result of these and other policies is a limited supply of doctors, with 6.5 million Canadians reporting that they do not have regular access to a family doctor or nurse practitioner, according to Latest data.
To attract more practitioners to areas where shortages are particularly acute, Labor Secretary Randy Boissonnault said there will be a 50 percent increase in forgivable loans for doctors and nurses who work in rural and remote communities.
With these changes, up to $60,000 will be forgiven for a family physician or family medicine resident, and up to $30,000 for a nurse or nurse practitioner with a Canada Student Loan, Boissonnault said.
An estimated 3,000 doctors and nurses will benefit from this program in the first year, Boissonnault said.
The goal is to “strengthen the health workforce.”
The government expects the Canada Student Loan changes “will attract approximately 1,200 new doctors and 4,000 new nurses to underserved rural and remote communities across the country over 10 years,” according to a background document provided to reporters.
“These changes strengthen the health workforce,” the government said in its press release. “They also contribute to making debt burdens more manageable.”
Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland admitted there was huge demand for doctors and that the government needed to do more. “Too many Canadians are not getting the health care they need,” she said.
Rural Economic Development Minister Jody Hutchings, who represents rural Newfoundland at the Cabinet table, said that while one in five Canadians live in rural and remote areas of the country, less than 10 per cent of the country’s doctors work in those communities.
“Ask anyone who lives in a smaller rural community — someone they know who has to travel a long time to see a doctor or nurse to get health care,” she said.
Asked why money was not allocated to this program to increase the number of residencies to train more doctors, Boissonnault said it was up to the provinces, regional colleges of physicians and surgeons and medical schools to increase the number of spaces.
pointed to A multi-billion dollar health agreement It was signed last year as a source of cash for counties to expand those sites to graduate more family doctors.
Canada student loans are a federal domain, Boissonnault said. “We will continue to do our part to make sure the cost is affordable,” he said.
Housing Minister Sean Fraser, who represents rural Nova Scotia and was on hand for the announcement, said today’s changes aren’t just about boosting supply.
It’s about pulling doctors into communities like his, where emergency rooms are routinely closed because there’s no attending physician.
He said it’s unfair to essentially require people to “schedule” when they have a medical episode because of the ongoing shortage of doctors.
“This is a massive political shift that will make a very big difference in the communities that I represent,” he said.
(Tags for translation)Doctors