More funding for family medicine residencies

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Toronto, February 24, 2011 - The Council of Ontario Universities (COU) welcomes the announcement by the federal government to fund new family medicine positions and training opportunities across Ontario and across Canada. This initiative will help improve access to health care for Ontarians in remote areas and rural communities.

Approximately 60 additional third-year family medicine residency positions in emergency medicine and enhanced skills will be created at Ontario's six Faculties of Medicine. The faculties are located at McMaster University, University of Ottawa, Queen's University, University of Toronto, University of Western Ontario, as well as the Northern Ontario School of Medicine at Laurentian University and Lakehead University.

A third year in family medicine is an optional residency period for family medicine residents that helps provide additional knowledge and skills in a particular area of practice.

"This initiative will support comprehensive family practice in under-served communities, and focus on areas such as anaesthesia, obstetrics, care of the elderly, palliative care, rural skills, mental health and addictions," says Dr. Catharine Whiteside, co-chair of the Council of Ontario Faculties of Medicine and Dean of the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto. "This additional training will help family physicians meet the needs of the community by having a comprehensive family practice, including services such as delivering babies or working in the local emergency department."

The federal government is investing $11.3 million to support this project in Ontario. This funding will be provided over four years to cover the full cost of establishing the residency positions and will include teaching costs, travel, accommodation, resident salary and benefits.

"Today's announcement will help ensure Ontarians have greater access to health care providers, regardless of where they live," says Bonnie M. Patterson, COU President and CEO. "This funding will support the education and training of Ontario's family medicine practitioners and greatly complements the provincial government's continued commitment to enhancing health care in Ontario."