Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Manitoba Election:Doer promises more doctors.

Almost every election the NDP stresses medical care issues. Doer's record however is not all that stellar but probably better than portrayed by the Conservatives. The Liberals have several doctors as candidates but the race is basically between Conservatives and NDP. A lot of doctors in rural areas are from overseas but as the opposition notes getting accreditation often seems a problem. This is no doubt as much a problem because of regulations of the COllege of Physicians and Surgeons as the government. The decline in Federal funding for health care in the provinces is a continuing issue that provincial government cannot control.

May 1, 2007

Doer: 100 new MDsAdds $5-million campaign promise

First-year medical student Jeremy Rose listens as Doer pledges to hire 100 new physicians. (BRIAN DONOGH/ SUN MEDIA)
Premier Gary Doer made a promise to hire 100 new doctors over the next four years if the New Democrats form government again after the May 22 election.

"It is over $5 million in new money that we are committing to doctor increases here in the province of Manitoba," said Doer. "A big part of delivering better care sooner is having more people helping people."

Doer said the trend of losing doctors in the province has been reversed since 1999 when his party formed government.

Doer said he'd create 10 new spaces at the University of Manitoba school of medicine and 10 new spaces to the International Medical Graduate program to help fill the gap.

"I believe the graduation rate and retention rate has gone from 54% in 1999 to just close to 90% in 2007," said Doer, adding the spaces in the school of medicine would grow to 110 this year, up from 70 in 1999.

The NDP would also dedicate $1 million towards filling rural and northern vacancies in order to provide doctors short-term relief and would also put $500,000 towards incentives to attract doctors to the province.

Liberal Leader Jon Gerrard said the doctor shortage under the NDP is the result of eight years of failing to retain doctors and from not helping foreign doctors get accreditation.

"Gary Doer says that it takes nine years to train a specialist, but we've got foreign-trained specialists driving cabs," said Gerrard. "That needs to change, and it will change with the Liberal plan."

Gerrard also made a promise yesterday to shorten wait times for hip and knee surgeries.

A Liberal government would create a bone and joint health institute modelled after the one in Alberta that would report directly to the province. Its mandate would be to promote bone and joint health, set provincial standards and conduct research.

"Establishing a provincial specialist network in bone and joint health will provide for substantial improvements in delivering care," said Gerrard.

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