Canada Has More Doctors, Making More Money Than Ever

Doctor Who’s Canadian connection

Growth in the number of doctors has been highest in rural areas, where complaints about shortages and access to care have historically been most pronounced. In the past five years, the number of physicians working in rural Canada rose five times faster than the national population. Provincially, British Columbia and Newfoundland and Labrador reported the largest increases in the number of physicians, at 5.1 and 4.6 per cent, respectively. Manitoba was the only province that did not report an increase. Geoff Ballinger, manager of health human resources at CIHI, said the overall numbers make it tempting to shrug off the notion of a doctor shortage in Canada. But that would be premature, he noted. For one thing, the number of physicians in rural Canada in not proportional with the rural population: While 18 per cent of Canadians, or about six million people, live in rural communities, just 8.5 per cent of the countrys 75,142 doctors served those people. That gap may be a reason that the number of Canadians who say they do not have a regular family doctor has stagnated at about 4.4 million in recent years, according to Statistics Canada. Its tempting to suspect the situation is improving . . .

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Canadian doctors explain why so many of us die badly

Tony Ding/KRT

These guys think you can use government money to do anti-government stuff, he once told me, as if they couldnt slip that by a former radical like him. I asked about the old days at the Board. He said many there were in the communist party. I asked about him. I was very close to it, he said, leaning in with a certain bravado, as if hed taken a walk on the wild side. It probably served him well as the wild colonial not to mention Jewish boy at the Beeb. Theres also a sci-fi connection to Doctor Who about a traveller in time and space. After the war, when the witchhunts and McCarthyism began, many leftist writers turned to science fiction as a way to camouflage their politics. U.S. writer Judith Merrill said she moved to both sci-fi and Canada for that reason. Her book collection is now housed at the Lillian Smith library on College Street. Newman said he loved sci-fi because its a marvellous way and a safe way, I might add of saying nasty things about our own society. Gene Roddenberry apparently felt similarly when creating Star Trek in the mid-sixties. Et voila: Doctor Who and Captain Kirk also played by a Canadian.

he said this

When dad stopped eating and drinking, it was accepted. My brothers and I were with dad around the clock. We were allowed to sleep in the room with him and to come and go as we pleased as were all of our family. I even lay in the bed with my arms around dad as the nurses worked around me, assuring me it was fine. We had put enlarged photos of dad on the walls, and we had music playing all the time. When dad died listening to Bing Crosby the young doctor, whose name escapes me put his arms around me. Months later, when I was Christmas shopping, he recognized me at the mall and asked how we all were Dad died in quiet comfort with dignity and respect accompanied by Moonlight Becomes You, and mum telling a funny story about their courtship. It couldnt have been a kinder death. How can we help secure a kinder death for ourselves and our loved ones? One of the most helpful notes in that regard came from Dr. Paul Mackey, an anesthetist from Fort St. John, B.C. My comment would be that one of the better ways to ensure your end-of-life care is to have a family physician with whom you actually have a relationship someone who knows you and your wishes and who is involved in your end-of-life care, he wrote. Unfortunately, not all patients have that luxury, either because they dont have family doctors, or because their family physicians are unable to provide in-hospital care. As a rural family physician, it has been my privilege to be with many patients as they make their final journeys. Unfortunately, many doctors are trained in ultra-specialized centres where the imperative too often is Dont stand there do something. Indeed, there are times when just sitting there and holding a hand should be all that is done. For me as a family physician the difficult part is not necessarily having the discussion about dying (though patients all too frequently joke Are you giving up on me?), but actually adequately covering all the necessary nuances of end of life wishes, he added. My suggestion is that we all should download and fill out the My Voice Handbook , developed as part of the BC End of Life Practice Support Module, and make sure our family doctors and significant others have copies.

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