Review of Family Medicine Within Rural and Remote Canada

January 18, 2016

(January 18, 2016) Mississauga, ON – An important new document called the  Review of Family Medicine Within Rural and Remote Canada: Education, Practice, and Policy – the first of its kind in Canada – is released today by the Advancing Rural Family Medicine (ARFM): Canadian Collaborative Taskforce, a joint initiative between the College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC) and the Society of Rural Physicians of Canada (SRPC).

The publication describes the current status of medical education for rural family doctors and how medical training and practice are meeting the health care needs of Canadians living in rural and remote areas. Common challenges include the recruitment and retention of rural physicians, and the lack of infrastructure and needed resources to support education offered to promote rural practice.

The report identifies opportunities for action that include enhancing comprehensive rural education programs;  investing  in rural education infrastructure - especially in distributed medical education sites to support clinical teachers; and enhancing leadership roles for stakeholders involved in the recruitment and retention of family physicians in rural, remote, and isolated communities.  

“The current trend indicates that more family medicine graduates are practicing in rural Canada than in previous years,” says Dr. Ruth Wilson, CFPC Taskforce Co-Chair. “However, many challenges persist. The work of the Taskforce will develop actions to help unite educators, rural practitioners, rural communities, and health human resource planners in building a systematic approach to advancing rural medicine and practice in a way that is properly supported.”

Key findings noted in the report:

  • Six million, or 18%, of Canadians live in rural and remote communities
  • 14% of family physicians in Canada practice in rural and remote areas
  • 85% of Canadians have family doctors
  • The CFPC has set a strategic goal of having 40% of medical students select family medicine as their top career choice by 2017

“The work of the Taskforce, and its extensive research to date, identifies system gaps that will assist leaders in enhancing the education, recruitment, and retention of family physicians to meet the specific requirements of physicians and their patients in rural and remote communities across the country,” adds Dr. Trina Larsen-Soles, SRPC Taskforce Co-Chair. “Doctors in rural areas are a big part of the solution to rural health care challenges. Our work is to find solutions to better support them going forward.”

Review of Family Medicine Within Rural and Remote Canada

In order to meet the diverse health care needs of Canada’s rural population and indigenous communities, the Taskforce will undertake stakeholder consultations and develop key action-oriented recommendations as part of a pan-Canadian rural road map to be released in 2017.

Review of Family Medicine Within Rural and Remote Canada

In order to meet the diverse health care needs of Canada’s rural population and indigenous communities, the Taskforce will undertake stakeholder consultations and develop key action-oriented recommendations as part of a pan-Canadian rural road map to be released in 2017.

About the College of Family Physicians of Canada

The CFPC represents more than 35,000 members across the country.  It is the professional organization responsible for establishing standards for the training and certification of family physicians. The CFPC reviews and accredits continuing professional development programs and materials that enable family physicians to meet certification and licencing requirements and lifelong learning interests.  It also accredits postgraduate family medicine training in Canada’s 17 medical schools. The College provides quality services, supports family medicine teaching and research, and advocates on behalf of family physicians and the specialty of family medicine.

About the Society of Rural Physicians of Canada

The Society of Rural Physicians of Canada (SRPC) is the national voice of Canadian rural physicians. Founded in 1992, the SRPC’s mission is to provide leadership for rural physicians and to promote sustainable conditions and equitable health care for rural communities.

On behalf of its members and the Canadian public, SRPC performs a wide variety of functions, such as developing and advocating health delivery mechanisms, supporting rural doctors and communities in crisis, promoting and delivering continuing rural medical education, encouraging and facilitating research into rural health issues, and fostering communication among rural physicians and other groups with an interest in rural health care.

The SRPC is a voluntary professional organization with more than 3,000 members representing rural physicians in Canada’s five regional divisions spanning the country.

CFPC Contact

Susan Monic
Manager, Communications Services
College of Family Physicians of Canada
905-629-0900 ext. 432
@FamPhysCan

SRPC Contact

Lee Teperman
Administrative Officer
Society of Rural Physicians of Canada
1(877) 276-1949

 

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