As Canada moves toward 3-year training for family doctors, some worry about worsening shortages – CBC

College says physicians need exposure to complex cases; others say it will exacerbate an already short supply

Sep 21, 2023

The College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC) wants to increase the length of family medicine residency from two years to three as a way of preparing doctors for more complex patients. But the plan is raising concerns it will increase the shortage of family doctors at a time when six million Canadians don’t have access to one.

Residency is the clinical specialty training that new physicians must do after they obtain their medical degrees; they can’t practice without completing it.

The first three-year program is expected to roll out in 2027, said Dr. Nancy Fowler, a family physician from Hamilton and executive director for the CFPC’s Division of Academic Family Medicine, the national body that establishes standards and accredits postgraduate family medicine training for all of Canada’s 17 medical schools.

“Family doctors, in particular, as the front line of health care … are really facing a changing picture in terms of an aging population, social complexity, unprecedented levels of concern about addiction and mental health,” Fowler said.

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