THE CURRENT SYSTEM WHICH DISCRIMINATES AGAINST CSAs, COSTS MORE.
Here are some examples of the programs in British Columbia designed to attempt to address the doctor shortage:
Almost $2 million dollars per year is spent recruiting foreign doctors in BC alone. MEANWHILE hundreds of young, Canadian graduates who studied medicine overseas– who are ready, willing, and immediately able to work meeting the basic health care needs of our country– are turned away.
$132.4 million was allotted to GPforMe, a BC program intended to address the problem of 10s of thousands of British Columbians who cannot find a family doctor. $40 million is going to be spent researching how to solve the family doctor problem. The rest is earmarked for additional and increased fees for already-practicing doctors. Not one cent of this money was set aside to hire resident physicians. There are still tens of thousands of British Columbians without family doctors.
BC pays $100,000 as an incentive to have doctors relocate for just 3 years, to underserviced communities such as Port Alberni, Bella Coola, Terrace, and Cranbrook. MEANWHILE CSAs from these communities, who want to return home to these same communities, are not allowed to return because British Columbia does not welcome CSAs
Training residents would be less expensive up front, and provide a long term solution.
It costs the Ministry of Health $28,300 per year to train a resident physician.
For less than $57,000, in two years, we could have a local resident physician who studied medicine overseas, fully licensed and ready to provide medical care to his community for a life time.
It has been estimated that it would take 1.5 fully licensed doctors to replace the work done by one resident.
In 2011-2012 physicians cost B.C. $3.6 billion which is 9% of the province’s total budget.
Doctors earnings are available to the public. A fully licensed family doctor in BC on average receives fees for service of $240,356 per year in 2011/12. Specialists in B.C. collected $288,532 per year. Surgical specialists collected $425,836 per year.
Training residents immediately addresses the immediate need for medical services.
UBC has been pushing for solving the doctor shortage by increasing medical school classes.
The last increase in enrollment made UBC the largest medical school in Canada and the second largest in North America.
UBC reports that it costs $115,611 per student per year to educate a UBC medical student. Tuition is $16,403 per year. Taxpayer subsidy is $99,208 per year per student.
CSAs pay their own tuition fees. Their only government subsidy is Canada Student Loans and the associated grants.
We know how many and what kind of doctors we need today. As time passes our needs may be different.
It takes 4 years to complete medical school.
CSAs can begin providing medical service immediately.
Increasing medical school enrollment may be counterproductive when there is a viable and more economic source of training doctors.
Our increased demand for doctors is a function of changing demographics. Baby boomers, born between 1946 and 1964.
As a result there are more doctors retiring. In 2012, in BC, the average age of a family doctor was 58 and of a specialist 61.
Aging increases the demand for medical services.
Educating students where there is a 6 to 11 year lag between beginning medical school and full licensure may be a poor economic solution considering that the demand is time sensitive.
It is more practical, and less economically risky, to train Canadians who are ready to begin working in residency jobs immediately.
A medical graduate is worth about half a million dollars in educational costs.
Each time Canada refuses access to residency jobs to a CSA, forcing him to emigrate, it gives away a half a million dollar asset.
Each year approximately 700 CSAs graduate from medical school.
Each year approximately 100 CSAs from British Columbia graduate from medical school.
Few CSAs are able to break through the barriers set up by BC to access medical residency jobs in BC.
This is an economic loss to BC of $50 million of assets each year.