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  1. I actually missed this topic – EH. Well first we have to take, with a grain of salt, the opinion of our Canadian equivalant to the self serving U.S. AMA. We also need to know where there are shortages. Canada is a vast country with more regions in the netherland that don’t attract docs. If you ask rural communities in the U.S. you’ll probably find a shortage of docs as well. Docs have wives and very often wives don’t want to locate away from the limelight, or at least the shopping. Sorry if that sounds sexist – I’ll take my lumps if anyone wants to throw some. Money can solve a lot of problems but if a docs are not committed to the community then the money motive won’t last long. Maybe training docs from the community to go back to the community where they have ties and an emotional committment would work.

  2. The issues the study group needs to address boil down to: (1) why is there a shortage of family doctors, (2) how big is the shortage, and (3) what can we do about it over both the short and long term?
    I suspect that there is a shortage because the compensation is inadequate. Doctors already in the field could respond by accelerating their retirement, cutting back their hours (if financially feasible) or becoming hospitalists which may pay better for fewer hours. Raising family doctor compensation could mitigate all three strategies and encourage more people currently in medical school to choose family practice over a specialty.
    The other potential problem may be a shortage of medical school slots and/or a shortage of qualified instructors. Any potential strategy to increase the supply of family doctors will probably require the government (taxpayers) to spend more money. I don’t think it’s rocket science, but it’s probably not cheap either, especially within the context of already high Canadian taxes.