Is There a Physician Shortage in Canada?

Gaining admission to any medical school in Canada can be very challenging. Fewer than half of applicants are accepted in Canadian medical schools annually. Although many of the applicants have the skills and ambitions to become effective physicians, tens of thousands of them are still being rejected. Even with the shortage of physicians in various health care facilities, there are still limited admission slots in the country’s medical schools. The result is persistent shortage of physicians experienced in the country.

Nonetheless, there is a viable solution to the problem: increased recruitment of Caribbean medical schools graduates, most of whom have the same qualifications as their Canadian counterparts. Here are few reasons why increased recruitment of graduates from any accredited Caribbean medical university can be the proverbial silver lining in the Canadian health care problems:Affiliation with Clinical Programs In Canada

Many Caribbean medical schools are already affiliated with a wide range of clinical programs in Canada. In fact, there are usually slots that are reserved for Caribbean students annually. What’s more, following a recent survey of various Caribbean medical schools, graduates from these institutions can compete effectively in both the United States National Residency Match Program (NRMP) and Canadian Resident matching Service (CaRMS), which means that they are qualified to practice in either the U.S or Canada.

Holistic View of Admission Decisions

In Canada, MCAT scores are very crucial in terms of admissions. In contrast, Caribbean medical schools consider other factors before making admission decisions. Most of them take holistic view and understand that many qualified students may not excel in standardized tests. The medical schools, therefore, provide opportunities for students who would otherwise be denied admission chance. These medical schools, therefore, provide a great source for qualified physicians that Canadian health care can leverage on mitigate their physician shortages.
Accelerated Programs

Caribbean medical schools offer accelerated programs, giving students an opportunity to clear their medical courses earlier. By shaving close to 2 years off a normal pre-med program, the students are not only given a chance to save but also to begin their career works early. There are many other benefits that are associated with accelerated programs, key among them is the fact that it makes it possible for young physicians to accept comparatively lower salaries for GPs in Canada. With unprecedented waiting lists of specialists and GPs in Canada, any way of getting qualified doctors quickly and at considerably lower costs should always be explored.

Bottom Line

Until Canadian medical schools reform their admission programs to include a greater number of qualified students, medical schools in the Caribbean will continue to be an important source of qualified medical practitioners—and remains a viable solution to current physician shortage in the country. Besides, some medical schools in the Caribbean offer veterinary medicine programs—another area where the country is experiencing shortages.

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