Medical Students Divided at the Prospect of Two-Tiered Health Care in Canada



    OTTAWA, April 16 /CNW Telbec/ - Future doctors in Canada overwhelmingly
support access to health care for all patients, whether they can afford it or
not. But some are comfortable with a move toward private clinics for those who
can.
    "This is probably the most important debate affecting medical students
today," said Philip Brost, president of the Canadian Federation of Medical
Students (CFMS). "Changes to the system today will affect our profession for
decades to come."
    Opinions about the future of our health care system are varied across the
country, according to a report released by the CFMS today. Medical students at
Memorial University of Newfoundland are firmly against the development of a
parallel private system. They worry that a private system will tap resources
from the public system and erode quality. Students at the University of
Toronto echo their sentiments, but almost one-third say they would choose to
work in a mixed private-public system if given the choice. The majority of
students across the country say they want to work in a public, not-for-profit
delivery system.
    Students are also concerned that private healthcare would reduce the
quality of medical education in Canada. They worry that physicians paid by
private insurance might teach less since it could compromise their profit
margins.
    "Medical education should be a priority for policy makers," argues Brost.
"It takes a lot of time and resources to deliver quality training for future
healthcare practitioners."

    The CFMS represents 13 medical schools and over 6000 medical students
across the country. Since the Chaoulli v. Quebec decision, they have been
polling their membership about the public-private healthcare debate. The final
report detailing opinions across the country was released today along with a
recommended set of guiding principles for policy-makers.




For further information:

For further information: Michelle Catton, CFMS Representative, (613)
565-7740; CFMS Media Pager, (613) 364-0811; The full CFMS report can be found
at www.cfms.org in the newsroom

Organization Profile

Canadian Federation of Medical Students (CFMS)

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