Medical program failing to keep doctors up north

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According to an article published by the CBC, less than 25 per cent of first class graduates of the UBC Northern Medical Program end up opening practices in the Northern region of the province.

The program, benefiting from $90,000 of funding annually per student, was originally designed to train doctors in the north so they would stay after graduation and serve the communities they trained in.

However, out of the first class in 2008 which contained 24 graduates, only five have opened rural family practices. Two of those are located in Fort St. John and Prince George, while Mackenzie and Trail each got one, a number that Mike Farnworth, B.C.’s NDP Health Critic told the CBC is "disappointing."

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He wonders why the medical students aren’t being asked to sign contracts which commit them to practice medicine in Northern B.C.

Dr. Joe Finkler, the Associate Dean of Admissions at UBC’s medical school responded to such comments, saying the program can’t force students to stay in the North.

However, program officials remain positive on the issue, as many students go on to specialize and may still decide to one day return to practice in rural B.C. 

To view the original story, visit the CBC website

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