The Society of Rural Physicians of Canada launches funding for training to improve health care access in rural settings

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by ahnationtalk on March 22, 2023132 Views


SHAWVILLE, QC, March 22, 2023 – Equitable access to health care is a growing concern for rural, remote and Indigenous communities, and today the Society of Rural Physicians of Canada (SRPC) is addressing the issue with the launch of the National Advanced Skills and Training Program for Rural Practice. The goal of the program is to support recruitment and retention and reduce physician shortages in the most underserved communities in Canada.

The SRPC, the national voice of Canadian rural physicians, has received funding to support and fund practicing rural physicians, including international medical graduates and those in their first year of practice. The training will increase their skill sets based on the needs of rural, remote, and Indigenous communities, and reduce the need for patient transport out of communities to receive health services.

“Health care needs in rural areas are unique, extending beyond comprehensive primary health care,” said Dr. Sarah Lespérance, president of the SRPC. “Equitable access for these communities includes offering services such as emergency care, anesthesia, obstetrics, surgery, palliative care and mental health. A segment of the current rural physician workforce is not fully equipped to offer all the many services required,” continued Dr. Lespérance. “This program will change that.”

Dr. Gavin Parker, a family physician in Pincher Creek, Alta., is a member of the new program’s Expert Advisory Committee. “Challenges in recruitment and retention of physicians due to lack of ongoing skills training have had a negative impact on service delivery in rural and Indigenous communities,” he said. “The pandemic and its resulting physician shortages have furthered healthcare inequities for these communities. With enhanced skills provided by this program, physicians will be better able to serve rural population needs, and improve rural physician attraction and retention.”

Rural physician funding

Rural physicians are encouraged to apply for funding to participate in skills training. They will identify their own training needs and select or develop learning opportunities to meet their needs. Once accepted in the program, the rural physician will receive a daily stipend to cover income loss, locum coverage and preceptor costs in addition to reimbursement for travel and accommodation. More information and the application can be found here.

The SRPC is part of a consortium entitled Team Primary Care: Training for Transformation which intends to accelerate health system reform needed to adopt the broad delivery of comprehensive primary care. Team Primary Care, co-led by the College of Family Physicians of Canada and the Canadian Health Workforce Network in partnership with over 65 health professional and educational organizations across Canada, is an interprofessional project of the Foundation for Advancing Family Medicine funded by Employment and Social Development Canada.

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About The Society of Rural Physicians of Canada

The Society of Rural Physicians of Canada is the national voice of Canadian rural physicians. Founded in 1992, the mission is championing rural generalist medical care through education, collaboration, advocacy and research. The mandate is to support rural physicians and communities, and enhance access to high quality care, close to home. The Society of Rural Physicians of Canada has a history of engagement in education and capacity-building projects, and these activities are core to the organization’s current activities.

About Team Primary Care

Team Primary Care – Training for Transformation is a unique and timely initiative that aims to accelerate transformative change in the way primary care practitioners train to work together. To do so, it brings together an extensive network of partners to enhance the capacity of interprofessional comprehensive primary care (CPC) through improved training for practitioners, supports for teams, and tools for planners and employers.

For further information: Kristen Kluke, kristenk@srpc.ca, Or call: 416-484-9214

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