Review takes a creative look at filling doctor shortage

Relaxed entry requirements, shorter training period could boost number of doctors

In an attempt to help fill doctor shortages, Canada's medical schools are looking at ways to produce more doctors more quickly.

As part of a two-year review of medical education, the Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada is looking at shortening the length of medical training from four years to three and considering whether or not to allow students without undergraduate degrees to enrol in medical school.

Most medical schools require students to have four years of pre-med studies before they apply. The exception is Quebec, where students can enter medicine after two years of junior college (CEGEP).

Relaxing entry requirements and shortening the training period would get physicians into the profession faster, said Nick Busing, president of the association conducting the review.

The review will look at best practices around the world to determine what changes, if any, would suit Canada, said Busing.

McMaster University in Hamilton and the University of Calgary already offer fast-track undergraduate programs for students willing to compress four years of study into three.

However, shortening the length of training won't necessarily produce more doctors in the long run because after the first double cohort, the number of doctors coming out is dependent on the number of students enrolling, said Andre Padmos, the chief executive of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons.

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