Royal College urges governments to safeguard quality of medical education and access to quality care in the increasingly complex Canadian system

    OTTAWA, Sept. 24 /CNW Telbec/ - With greater regionalization, new models
of medical education and the increasing presence of private medical centres,
The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada is calling on all
governments, medical centres and clinics, and regional health authorities to
safeguard the quality of medical education and to ensure Canadians have access
to quality, timely and safe care.
    The Royal College has long affirmed its support for Canada's public
health care system and the principles enunciated in the Canada Health Act.
However, the College also recognizes that the health care landscape in Canada
is evolving. In a new policy statement, "Safeguarding the Quality of the
Educational Continuum and Medical Workforce in Canada's Complex Health Care
System", the Royal College outlines far-reaching recommendations to safeguard
the quality of care and the training opportunities for Canada's doctors as the
prevalence of private centres increases. Governments have an obligation to
ensure that access to and quality of medical training is not negatively
impacted by their decisions.
    "The growing complexity of health care, pressures to reduce wait times
and increased presence of private clinics has provided a new landscape for the
delivery of health care and medical education and training," says Dr. William
Fitzgerald, FRCPC, incoming president of the Royal College. "The College
recognizes that the involvement of the private sector in health care is a
reality in Canada. Our concerns are about the continuity of care and patient
safety when Canadians are moving between public and private centres. We must
also ensure that the doctors of tomorrow will continue to have quality
training opportunities."
    Dr. William Fitzgerald, C.M., FRCSC, past president of the Newfoundland
Surgical Society and the Canadian Association of General Surgeons, becomes the
College's 40th president on Sept 27, 2008. During his two-year term, he will
work to ensure the College's perspective and that of its 42,000 members
influences the development of sound health policy on issues such as health
human resources, quality education and training, models of practice, physician
health and well-being and labour mobility.
    If governments or regional health authorities devolve care to private
medical facilities, the Royal College recommends that formal relationships
between these facilities and faculties of medicine must be established to
ensure that residents are exposed to an appropriate case-mix and have
opportunities to develop the full breadth of roles a specialist must fulfil in
their professional activities.
    There must also be a concerted effort to secure funding to support
research that evaluates the impact of privatization on access and quality of
health care, education, standards and physician human resources in this
    According to Dr. Andrew Padmos, FRCPC, the Royal College's CEO:
"Governments must ensure that patients have timely access to medically
necessary, publicly funded care of the highest standards, irrespective of its
delivery in the public or private systems. They must also support policies
that provide adequate resources to the educational and health care systems and
ensure the proper distribution of physician human resources and work
environments and compensation that are conducive to retaining physicians in

    The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada is the national,
not-for-profit organization that oversees the medical education of specialists
in Canada by setting high standards for postgraduate medical education and
continuing professional development. In collaboration with health
organizations and government agencies, the Royal College also plays a role in
developing sound health policy in Canada.

    Please see the full statement:

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For further information:

For further information: or to request an interview, please contact:
Cecily Wallace, The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, (613)
260-4180, Cell (613) 286-7328,; Cristiane Doherty, Delta
Media, (613) 233-9191, Cell (613) 799-9277,

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Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada

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