News at Medicine - May 2008 - Minister congratulates Faculty of Medicine on Rural Education Award

Minister congratulates Faculty of Medicine on Rural Education Award
May 1, 2008
Ross Wiseman, minister of health and community services, made the following statement in the House of Assembly on May 1.
“I rise in this house today to congratulate Memorial University of Newfoundland’s Faculty of Medicine on its Rural Education Award from the Society of Rural Physicians of Canada.
The award is designated to the Canadian medical school which matches the most graduates to a rural family medicine program for their residency. I am proud to say that in 2007, Memorial University placed 26 per cent of its graduates in a rural family medicine practice. This is a significant achievement, especially given the national average for rural placement is 7 per cent and the next highest medical school matched only 13 per cent of its graduates.
This accomplishment acknowledges the excellent opportunities that the medical school offers students to experience practice in rural communities during each of the three years of the program. As well, 40 per cent of our medical school’s students are originally from rural communities and we know that medical graduates with a rural background are more likely to choose a medical career right here in Newfoundland and Labrador. Furthermore, initiatives by our government are working to enhance physician recruitment and retention, especially for rural areas.
Our government knows very well the value in training more of our own people to build up our workforce of physicians. Budget 2008 includes $4 million to expand Memorial University’s medical school to increase the number of spaces for students – another Blueprint commitment fulfilled.
Improving access to health care services is one of the top priorities for our government and we invest over $6 million annually in physician recruitment and retention initiatives. Over the last three years, we have awarded 117 bursaries to 79 post-graduate residents who have committed to provide medical services in areas of need in the province upon graduation, including 27 family practice bursaries.
We have acted and have been successful in recruiting more physicians to Newfoundland and Labrador. The province of Newfoundland and Labrador currently has the most physicians in practice in its history. And, it is our promise to continue building on this number to improve access to physician services for our people.”