Royal College working with residents to strengthen Canada's health system

OTTAWA, Feb. 19, 2013 /CNW/ - As National Resident Awareness Day is celebrated across the country, the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada is proud to celebrate the work of resident physicians across the health system. In the coming months, the Royal College will work with resident groups and partners to advance two key issues affecting residents and the entire health system: resident duty hours and specialist employment.

"Resident physicians are often the first point of contact for patients," said Royal College CEO Andrew Padmos, MD, FRCPC. "Canada's residents are vital players in arguably the world's finest medical education and health system. Residents are the future leaders of medicine in Canada."

National Resident Awareness Day is intended to raise public awareness of the important role that approximately 9,000 resident physicians play in Canadian health care. Their role requires them to regularly work lengthy duty hours, a practice which has come under debate in recent years as research revealed potential correlations between the incidence of medical errors and resident fatigue.

In the coming months, the Royal College and its partners will complete the Health Canada supported project, Towards a Pan-Canadian Consensus on Resident Duty Hours. The regulation of resident duty hours has been hotly debated. Trends in the European Union and the United States, as well as a 2011 ruling in Quebec eliminating 24-hour on-call shifts, have focused on reducing working hours by decreasing shift length in the name of resident well-being and patient safety. However, there is little unanimity and great discrepancy between jurisdictions, as well as significant variation in the findings and evidence in the available literature.

The project's national steering committee has been examining the available evidence on this issue and a national consensus conference will be held in Ottawa next month. Attended by residents, educators and health care leaders, this national collaboration will ultimately produce a pan-Canadian statement and recommendations on resident duty hour issues, directions and best practices - to be released later this year. For more information, please visit

Also, the Royal College will release the findings this spring of its comprehensive study examining specialist unemployment in Canada. This study examined the complex causes underlying this situation and identifying potential solutions. The Royal College will then convene a national forum of residents, medical education and health care leaders to discuss how best to move forward.

"Residents spend further years in intensive, comprehensive specialty training to meet Canada's diverse health needs, yet planning has fallen short to integrate them into the medical workforce", said Dr. Padmos. "We're committed to working with them to achieve lasting solutions."

SOURCE: Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada

For further information:

Sandra Shearman,
Manager, Communications and External Relations
613-730-8177 ext. 464, 1-800-668-3740 ext. 464

Tom McMillan,
Senior communications specialist, Communications and External Relations
613-730-8177 ext. 474, 1-800-668-3740 ext. 474

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