The Canadian doctor crisis: A good physician's so hard to find - Maclean's



    Why you can't find a doctor, and why it's about to get a whole lot worse;
    Also in this week's issue: How Canada let 1,300 sex offenders run loose:
    A Maclean's special investigation; and inside Gordie Howe's suburban
    slugfest. For information on these stories and more, visit
    www.macleans.ca.

    TORONTO, Jan. 3 /CNW/ - It's becoming increasingly common as more and
more women pursue medical careers, and it's the latest twist on what may be
the country's most critical health care issue - the doctor shortage. Across
all health care occupations, from nurses to pharmacists to dental technicians,
roughly 80 per cent of the workforce is female, according to Statistics
Canada. But the physician population has always been male-dominated, and this
influx of women will add fuel to the doctor crisis in Canada.
    Female doctors commit fewer hours and fewer years to the medical system
than males, and family duties are at least one reason why. Despite their
demanding careers, women are still given the bigger proportion of child care,
housekeeping and elder care, but this pressure comes with a price. "Burnout"
drives many women out of medicine altogether, and with five million Canadians
currently without a family doctor, things are only getting worse. A 2005
survey found that just 23 per cent of Canadians were able to see a physician
the same day they needed one - placing this country last among the six
studied, including the U.S., Britain and Australia. Canada's doctor-patient
ratio is among the worst of any industrialized nation: with just 2.2
physicians per thousand people, it ranks 24th out of 28 OECD countries (well
below the average of three). And among the G8 countries, Canada ranks dead
last when it comes to physician supply.
    Be sure to read Maclean's "Are annual check-ups useless?" also in the
issue hitting newsstands today.

    Canada's sex-offender registry - a national embarrassment

    Three years after the system was introduced, Canada's sex offender
registry remains a dysfunctional mess. Registration isn't even mandatory. A
prosecutor must ask a judge to add a defendant to the database, and since the
law took effect, barely half of all convicted sex offenders have been ordered
to sign up. The rest - thousands of molesters, child pornographers and other
loathsome criminals - are under no obligation to tell police where they live.
"The registry can barely keep track of sex offenders who are ordered to
comply," writes Maclean's senior writer Michael Friscolanti. At last count,
16,295 names appear on the system; 1,270 are considered non-compliant. Some of
those people never registered at all. Others have failed to check in as
required - 317 in Ontario, 201 in Alberta, 134 in British Columbia. Quebec is
the worst, by far. The province is home to 2,554 registered sex offenders. One
in five (480) are missing.
    According to internal government documents obtained by Maclean's under
the Access to Information Act, the registry is crippled by one major problem:
Ottawa's obsession with privacy. "The feds are so determined to protect the
rights of convicted sex offenders that most police officers are not allowed to
access the system," reports Friscolanti. For further details on this special
investigation, turn to Maclean's, on newsstands starting today.

    Howe humiliating!

    A dispute with a hockey great has left a Michigan couple reeling. Living
next to a sports legend may be "no picnic" but apparently, there are some
things you just don't say to Gordie Howe.

    About Maclean's:

    Maclean's is Canada's only national weekly current affairs magazine.
Maclean's enlightens, engages and entertains 2.8 million readers with strong
investigative reporting and exclusive stories from leading journalists in the
fields of international affairs, social issues, national politics, business
and culture. Visit www.macleans.ca.





For further information:

For further information: Jacqueline Segal, (416) 764-4125,
jacqueline.segal@rci.rogers.com

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