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HR Resources Database November -0001

Manitoba government to spend $4 million to recruit and retain more physicians


A new incentive program, developed in partnership with the University of Manitoba medical school to boost residency opportunities for Manitoba-trained graduates and top talent from outside the province, is the centrepiece of an enhanced, multi-tiered strategy to keep more doctors living and working in Manitoba, announced Health Minister Theresa Oswald announced
"There are 235 more doctors working in Manitoba today than when our government took office and we are committed to ensuring that number continues to rise," Oswald said. "We will continue to invest in innovative strategies to ensure the number of doctors living and working in Manitoba keeps going up."

Beginning this fall, the University of Manitoba's faculty of medicine will offer a two-year northern and remote family-medicine-streamed residency program that will deliver the dual benefit of improving access to physicians in northern communities while boosting specialized training for new doctors in urban areas.

Under the unique program, new physicians will pledge to return a minimum two years of service to a northern Manitoba community where there is a need for their service in return for a guaranteed residency position in the specialty of their choice in Manitoba. The initiative will cost $1.5 million per year, funded by the province.

Dr. Dean Sandham, dean of the faculty of medicine, said the new strategy is a made-in-Manitoba initiative that will help keep more highly-skilled doctors in the province in the context of a nationwide challenge to recruit and retain medical professionals.

"This is the quickest, most effective way to get more feet on the ground in remote and northern communities and to provide excellent education and service," Sandham said. "Ultimately, this approach will ensure more doctors remain living and working in all areas of the province."

New medical graduates selected for the program will begin their careers with a minimum four years of service in the province: a two-year residency, two years as a return of service and, for those who choose, training in a specialized field for up to five years. The dean and minister noted doctors who begin their careers in the province are more likely to continue to practice here.

The new program will begin this fall with up to two positions, expanding to 10 positions per year in 2009-10.

New initiatives also announced today include:
  1. increased provincial support of up to $500,000 per year to ensure more Manitoba-trained medical school graduates - up to five each year to be selected by the faculty of medicine based on the university's acceptance criteria - will be able to pursue a residency here at home if they do not secure a provincial residency spot through the national Canadian Resident Matching Service (CaRMS).
  2. an additional $2 million to bring more foreign-trained doctors to Manitoba. The new provincial investment will increase the number of seats available in the International Medical Graduates Medical Licensure Program to 35 from 25, meeting a key election commitment. Funding will also increase mentorship opportunities under the International Medical Graduate mentorship program that supports newly-licensed physicians in making a successful transition to the community.

The dean and minister said steps announced today to increase residency spots in Manitoba will boost the province's CaRMS ratio, the number of available residency spots relative to the number of medical school graduates. A higher CaRMS ratio will increase opportunities to pursue a residency position in Manitoba, they noted.

Today's $4-million package of new investments builds on other successful initiatives designed to recruit, train and retain more doctors in Manitoba including:
  1. an increase in the number of medical school training seats to 110, the largest class in decades;
  2. a 60 per cent tuition rebate worth up to $25,000 for graduates who choose to live and work in Manitoba;
  3. additional grants of up to $15,000 for third- or fourth-year undergraduates who practice in a rural community for one year;
  4. grants of up to $20,000 for family medicine residents who agree to one year of returned service in Manitoba;
  5. up to $25,000 in assistance per year for four years for family medicine physicians who have set up practice in rural Manitoba.


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