Society of Rural Physicians of Canada

Society of Rural Physicians of Canada

April 17, 2008 10:29 ET

Society of Rural Physicians of Canada: Canada's Rural Doctors Call for New Health Strategy

HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA--(Marketwire - April 17, 2008) - Over 400 rural doctors from across Canada meeting at the Society of Rural Physicians of Canada (SRPC) Rural and Remote Conference in Halifax today are sounding the alarm that Canada is failing the nation's 6-million rural residents by failing to develop a national rural health strategy.

"Rural doctors are working longer and harder than ever but their commitment is not being matched by a similar commitment from governments to ensure the health needs of all Canadians are met," said Dr. Michael Jong, President of the SRPC.

SRPC is calling for a national rural health strategy, recognizing that while 20% of Canada's population lives in rural or remote areas, only 10% of Canada's physicians do.

"We need a national rural health strategy," added Dr. Jong. "Such a strategy would allow for research, planning and action that will help put an end to the unhealthy competition between communities for doctors."

A recent survey of rural doctors highlights several of the challenges to be addressed:

- 75% of rural physicians said their workload was too heavy;

- Rural physicians spend about 45 hours per month more on call than their urban colleagues;

- Rural physicians see almost double the patients that urban physicians do while on call.

Speakers at the Rural and Remote Conference in Halifax include Dr. Dennis Pashen, President of the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine and Dr. Brian Day, President of the Canadian Medical Association.

Dr. Pashen will describe the Australian national rural health strategy and a certification body for rural and remote medicine, while Dr. Day will touch on the need for more political action to address Canada's physician shortage.

"The CMA's ongoing 'More Doctors. More Care' campaign is pushing to get health care back on the radar of our federal politicians," said Dr. Day. "Canada needs a national health workforce strategy based on self-sufficiency. It's as simple as that."

The SRPC is calling on all governments - both provincial and federal - to show leadership on behalf of Canadians.

"Neither the provinces nor the federal government are doing enough," said Dr. Jong. "Health is the top priority for Canadians and the sustainability of rural communities depends on the ability to access health care."

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 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 representing over
2,500 of Canada's rural physicians and comprising 5 regional divisions spanning the country.

Contact Information

  • Society of Rural Physicians of Canada
    Mr. Lee Teperman
    SRPC Head Office
    Society of Rural Physicians of Canada
    Dr. Michael Jong
    President SRPC