I am adding to the letters published in your November 2000 issue [BCMJ 2000;42(9):413] regarding the physician supply issue and how best to deal with it.
One of the solutions proposes more residency positions to match the number of medical students graduating from UBC, that number being 120. The next letter proposes to re-install the rotating internship year, to help budding physicians make an informed decision as to which specialty they should train into.
I would like to propose in addition bringing back from abroad (Ireland, UK, and Australia) those of our children who are studying medicine there, victims of the medical school enrollment cuts of the 1994 era. With increased residency positions over all Canada, not just in BC, we have then more room to train our own Canadian foreign graduates and assure them that we want and need them back home. At the present time, we are losing them to the US, as we cannot take them on to offer them residency training.
As well, with the re-establishment of the rotating internship, what better way to assess the competency of those non-Canadian foreign graduates that are already in this country and who have very limited entry into the system, if at all, under the present circumstances? This would be a very good way to proctor and monitor their performance, let them upgrade their language skills, and at the same time adapt to our ways and medical practice routines. At the same time, they would provide a ready force of physicians available, with many already trained in their home country, and just needing to be recognized here.
—Alex Porzecanski, MD
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