OTTAWA — The Society of Rural Physicians of Canada and the College of Family Physicians of Canada have launched a strategy aimed at improving rural health in Canada.
The Rural Road Map for Action includes four major directions aimed at ensuring the 18 per cent of Canadians living outside urban centres have equal access to high quality health care.
It focuses on support for Canadian medical schools as they develop students willing to practice in rural communities.
It also works to link those young doctors with long-time rural physicians.
The strategy offers proposals to strengthen the network of specialists and other care providers, helping rural doctors offer the best care for patients and communities, despite geographical challenges.
Golden, B.C., doctor and co-chair of the task force, Dr. Trina Larsen Soles, says the plan is vital because recruiting and retaining family physicians in rural areas through financial incentives alone is not enough.
"Family medicine residents who are educated in rural training sites, immerse themselves in the communities and who see themselves supported by peers, specialists, health-care providers and evolving distance technologies are more likely to choose rural and stay rural," she says.
Co-ordination and alignment of education, practice policies, community involvement and government support is needed to ensure the best rural health care in this country, says Larsen Soles.