Physician shortage hits northern Canadian provinces

A physician’s shortage is beginning to grip northern Canadian provinces. The Conference Board of Canada has produced a map showing the doctor-patient ratio in northern provinces and it’s not good. It shows one medical doctor for every 3,000 residents.

Southern Canadian provinces, in contrast enjoy a 1 to 400 doctor-patient ratio.

Derrick Hynes, the director of board’s for the Center for the North, said that while Canada generally bears a lack of doctors, the shortage is much worse in the north, especially in provinces like Saskatchewan, Nunavut and Newfoundland and Labrador.

The 2006 census data, accordingly shows the most recent information, with northern Saskatchewan having only three physicians for every 10,000 population, Nunavut five, northern Newfoundland eight, northern Alberta 10 and northern Manitoba 11, which resulted in a 1 to 3,333 doctor-patient ratio in Saskatchewan and 1 to 2,000 in Nunavut. As you can see the statistics are alarming. The need for more physicians is great and will hopefully be relieved by the kindness
of International Medical Graduates who wish to move to Canada.

There is an exception, the province of Yukon, which enjoys a 1 to 268 doctor-patient ratio. Hynes has theorized that the unusually high ratio in Yukon could be because the census included retired and part-time doctors.

Hynes also said the doctor shortage does increase health risks of northern people because sick people need to be sent hundreds or thousands of kilometers to find any sort of responsible medical coverage.

Because of the tight accreditation requirements of Ottawa, there are many International medical grads who are doctors in their own country , who are living in Canada and cannot practice medicine. Reports show that some are even working as cab drivers in major Canadian urban centers like Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver.