Doctors Manitoba ‘optimistic’ about rural health care changes outlined in new report – Winnipeg | Canadian

A new report is offering recommendations on how to improve the health care system in rural communities by taking on the shortage of physicians.

Doctors Manitoba president Dr. Candace Bradshaw told 680 CJOB’s The Start that the report offers recommendations for short, medium and long-term solutions.

Rural hospitals and ERs have faced similar staffing problems as their counterparts in Winnipeg — including a reduction in workers due to retirements and burnout — but unlike city hospitals, many have had to shut down for periods of time in recent years.

“We’ve got to really address the burnout that physicians who are mid-career are facing right now,” Bradshaw said.

“The strain is way too much, and it’s so unnecessary. There’s paperwork that should be completely abolished. We’ve got to look at some of these obvious administrative burdens.”

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Among the report’s long-term solutions: increasing enrolment to medical schools — something that hasn’t changed in Manitoba in 15 years and Bradshaw says is keeping us behind other provinces.

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Despite being behind, Bradshaw said she still believes Manitoba can catch up and bring our health care services on par with our neighbours.

“We used to be the fourth-best in Canada for physicians per capita, and now we’re down to the third-worst for physicians overall,” she said.

“We’ve seen that there’s been an increase in physicians retiring, we’ve seen that our medical school has not expanded for 15 years, and we’ve also seen that the… program for international graduates has not been expanded for many years.”

A summit was held last month with doctors, businesses and rural politicians to come up with solutions, and Bradshaw said she’s optimistic about the response from government.

“Not only is everyone listening, but they all want to act,” she said.

“I’m going to be watching very closely next month when the government outlines its priorities in the throne speech.”

The report, which details the results of the summit, offers a number of recommendations to tackle the physician shortage, including finding efficiencies, properly addressing the causes of burnout and reducing the burden, helping with costs and peer support/mentorship to retain physicians, and working closely with communities, chambers of commerce, and Indigenous leadership to keep health care workers in Manitoba.

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