New Resources Build on Successful Strategy, Resulting in a Net Increase of 345 Doctors Since 1999: Oswald
Health Minister Theresa Oswald today announced new resources to educate, recruit and retain more doctors with a specific focus on increasing the supply of family doctors throughout Manitoba.
“We have made significant progress in increasing the number of doctors who provide front-line care to Manitobans,” Oswald said. “But this is not the time to stand still. We must focus new attention to ensure our doctor strategy continues to meet the needs of our aging population while ensuring all patients have timely access to family doctors whether they live in Winnipeg, Brandon, rural or northern Manitoba.”
The minister said the following new initiatives will build on a strategy that has resulted in a net increase of 345 doctors in Manitoba since 1999:
· Supports for Students – The University of Manitoba school of medicine will see an increase in its funding of $1 million over the next two years. These resources will be used to sustain increased enrolment at the medical school, help encourage medical students to practise family medicine in rural, northern and urban centres, and fund other school improvements.
· Affordability – Tuition fees for medical students will be held at a five per cent increase to keep the cost of attending medical school affordable. This fee increase is in line with those approved for other undergraduate students.
· Improving Access to Doctors for all Manitobans – The Manitoba government will invest in a study to examine how education, recruitment and retention initiatives can further increase the supply of doctors throughout the province, with a particular emphasis on doctors serving rural and northern areas. In addition, the study will examine the potential of a greater role for Brandon University in educating medical professionals. Further improving access to family doctors in Winnipeg and Brandon will also be studied.
For more than a decade, the Manitoba government has embarked on an aggressive strategy to increase its doctor supply including:
· increasing the number of seats at the University of Manitoba school of medicine to 110 seats from 70 in 1999,
· providing a 60 per cent tuition fee rebate up to $25,000 for medical school graduates who choose to stay and practise in Manitoba,
· offering return-of-service grants for medical students who want to practise in rural and northern Manitoba,
· creating a $500,000 rural and northern doctor relief fund,
· implementing a $500,000 physician resettlement fund, and
· creating a northern and remote family medical residency program to recruit and retain more family doctors in underserved areas.