Most Quebec medical grads are leaving the province

Despite province’s doctor crisis, Ontario gets 22 percent of Quebec’s new MD grads

According to some new numbers from the Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada, more than half of doctors who graduate in Quebec are leaving the province, despite its increasingly overburdened and understaffed health system.

The Ottawa-based association says 52 per cent of recent medical grads from McGill University, which is the only English-language medical faculty in the province, are heading elsewhere, with 22 per cent settling in Ontario. The numbers were compiled to reflect where doctors who graduated in 2006 are currently practicing.

The Toronto Star reports that the province is suffering, along with many other provinces, from a severe doctor shortage. “It’s a major preoccupation for Quebecers who have seen nightmarish scenarios recently, including “average” emergency wait times of 16 hours and media reports of overburdened hospitals putting patients not just in hallways but even staff lounges and cafeterias,” according to the newspaper’s Quebec bureau chief.

The numbers also indicate that Ontario is keeping most of its graduates, although a portion moved to western Canada, and that more than half of the medical graduates from Memorial University and Dalhousie University were no longer working in the Maritimes. Again, Ontario got a significant portion – 27 percent- of these new doctors.

Quebec’s education ministry says it costs anywhere from $158,200 to educate a family doctor to $283,600 for a cardiac surgeon.

According to the Star, Gatineau doctor Gilles Aubé, who ran for the Parti Québécois in the December election, is calling for students to sign contracts to remain in Quebec. However, cardiology resident Dr. Martin Bernier says Quebec needs to fix the problem of pay inequality for its doctors and the existence of too much red tape in the medical system.