VANCOUVER – While Canadians fight to access medical care, the provincial governments continue to ration access to medical care through various channels. They ration the number of Canadians who graduate from international schools who can access residency training to become certified for independent practice. Despite the physician shortage and the surplus of Canadians with medical degrees in comparison to residency training positions in Canada, the provincial government and Health Canada ration how many of these Canadians can train in the U.S. Canada is the only developed country in the world which restricts the number of its citizens who can get free, high quality medical residency training in the U.S.
The Society for Canadians Studying Medicine Abroad (SOCASMA) is a non-profit organization that has been fighting to stop the segregation and rationing of access to residency physician positions of Canadians who study medicine at reputable international medical schools. Currently the provincial governments segregate access to competition for residency training. They place a quota on the number of immigrant physicians and Canadians who study overseas who can be trained in Canada. SOCASMA advocates that access to medicine should not be a segregated system based on place of education. They say access should be based on merit so that the most skilled and able medical graduates are trained. Some headway has been made in reducing barriers to residency training for Canadians who study medicine abroad but policies based on segregation and rationing rather than merit persist.
SOCASMA will be having a meeting to on Monday, November 21, 2016 at 6:45 p.m at Canadian Memorial Church and Centre for Peace at 1825 West 16th Avenue, Vancouver, British Columbia to provide information and answer questions about the barriers to access Canadian and American residency training and how to try to overcome them plus the action SOCASMA is taking to address this.
Speakers at the meeting will include Moira Stilwell, MLA and author of “Action Plan for Repatriating BC Medical Students Studying Abroad” and Canadians who have successfully come home after studying medicine abroad.
More information about the meeting and issues is available at socasma.com.
SOCASMA urges all British Columbians to become aware of receding access to medical care and the restrictions on the numbers of physicians and on the services they provide. The College of Family Physicians just released its 2016 report card on access to primary care. Timely access to primary care has gone from orange in 2013 to red in 2016. Some governments are even taking “budgetary measures” to control delivery of babies. CBC News recently reported that McGill University Health Centre has imposed quotas on several obstetricians that limit the number of deliveries they can perform each month. The rule is that they must refer patients to another institution after they have performed 14 deliveries over a 28 day period.