Last year nearly 41 percent of all doctors licensed in the province of Ontario were foreign-born, according to a new study released this month.
The report, compiled and released by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario, indicates that a “reverse brain drain” is occurring in the province, as more new doctors are arriving from other countries.
“We’ve reversed the brain drain,” said Ontario Minister of Health Deb Matthews. “Long ago we were losing trained doctors to other countries, but recent figures show that 174 more doctors came to Ontario in 2009 than left.”`
Just ten years ago, only 28 percent of newly licensed doctors in the province were foreign born. Experts say that the dramatic increase is due to several factors, including more overseas recruitment of doctors and increased efforts to ease their integration into the Canadian health care system.
Overall, the number of new doctors has been increasing over the past several years, and now nearly all of the Ontario population (94 percent) have access to a physician. The major challenge facing officials now is to bring that access to the rural areas of the province.
“We know there has been a shortage of doctors in Ontario,” said Dr. Lynne Thurling, president of the Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons. “We have to walk a fine line between getting more of them on the front line without lowering our standards.”
Source: Toronto Star