Physician resource management: a true paradox

    MONTREAL, June 28 /CNW Telbec/ - "At a time when we are suffering a
severe shortage of physicians, when the government is seeking help from
Ontario doctors in improving access to care, especially in the Outaouais, our
medical residents with certification in internal medicine and paediatrics have
not until now been able to help out on a temporary basis in Quebec," stated
the president of the Fédération des médecins résidents du Québec,
Dr Martin Bernier. "Indeed, for a good number of years now, many Quebec
medical residents have offered their services in Ontario, New Brunswick and
other provinces when they could have delivered care to Quebecers, were it not
for the fact that Quebec regulations did not allow them to work in Quebec.
Quite a paradox!"
    There are just over 200 medical residents certified in internal medicine
and paediatrics who could deliver care in Quebec in addition to the care they
provide as part of their postgraduate training. "Unfortunately," said
Dr Bernier, "the rules of the game prevented them from doing so. A change was
called for."


    In amending its regulations, the Collège des médecins now allows
temporary licences to practise to be issued to medical residents certified in
internal medicine and paediatrics. However, owing to the requirements of the
Medical Act, obtaining this temporary licence is conditional upon obtaining a
licence to practise in another province. Another paradox.
    "Today's announcement, the outcome of co-operation among the Collège des
médecins du Québec, the Fédération des médecins spécialistes du Québec and
us," Dr Bernier continued, "shows that dialogue among health care
organizations can lead to the development of innovative solutions. Now it is
up to the Minister to follow the lead and amend the Medical Act to avoid a
ludicrous situation. We hope," added the FMRQ president, "that the issue can
be moved forward and that we will soon be able to make a greater contribution
to improving access to care."


    In addition, training in internal medicine and paediatrics must be made
more attractive, and competitive with training in other provinces. In fact, in
2000, postgraduate education in those two specialties was lengthened from four
to five years, while everywhere else in Canada it has stayed at four years.
This disparity in the duration of training means several medical residents
prefer to train in a faculty outside Quebec in those fields, or choose another
specialty. It is a matter of great concern that specialties where there are
such shortages in Quebec are not better supported. So the Federation is
pleased to confirm today that discussions aimed at rectifying this situation
are currently under way with the Collège des médecins du Québec.


    "We absolutely have to continue taking steps to identify new solutions to
the shortage of physicians and the exhaustion of the troops in the health care
system," stated Dr Bernier. "Quebec has to innovate, and fast! Avenues such as
moonlighting for residents-in-training should be explored further. Things have
to change, and common sense must prevail. If necessary, we will propose draft
legislation in order to move things forward quickly. The bureaucracy is slow,
demoralizing and counterproductive. If the others don't move," the FMRQ
president concluded, "then we will, as we are doing today."


    The Fédération des médecins résidents du Québec is made up of the four
medical residents' associations of the medical faculties of the University of
Montreal, McGill University, the University of Sherbrooke and Laval University
in Quebec City. It has 2,339 members, of whom one quarter are headed for a
practice in family medicine. The others are pursuing training in one of the 35
specialties recognized in Quebec. Of that number, 40% are men and 60% are
women. The duration of postgraduate education in family medicine is two years,
while for specialized physicians it varies from five to six years, depending
on the specialty chosen.

For further information:

For further information: Johanne Carrier, Communications, Fédération des
médecins résidents du Québec, (514) 282-0256, 1 800 465-0215, Pager: (514)
751-9983, Cell: (514) 591-0502; Source: Dr Martin Bernier, President,
Fédération des médecins résidents du Québec

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Fédération des médecins résidents du Québec

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