Private medical schools the wrong prescription, says CHPS

Ottawa (23 Jan. 2008) - A recent proposal by Dr. Brian Day, president of the Canadian Medical Association (CMA), to create private medical schools in Canada is being condemned by Canadas largest organization of health science professionals.

-Its no surprise Dr. Day and the CMA would push a private solution to a public problem," says Elisabeth Ballermann, co-chair of the Canadian Health Professionals Secretariat (CHPS). -But Dr. Days suggestion is misguided, impractical and would only compound problems related to a doctor shortage and medical waiting times."

CHPS is a national advocacy body that represents more than 60,000 unionized health science professionals who deliver the diagnostic, clinical and rehabilitation services essential to timely and quality health care. HSA BC is a member of the the Secretariat.

-Private medical schools would undoubtedly come with massive tuition fees and staggering student debt and would therefore be inaccessible to thousands of students from middle and lower income families," says Ballermann.

-In addition, the public system would still clearly have to be part of the solution in order to provide medical students with the broad clinical experiences they need," she adds.

-A more effective and practical approach would be to further expand the capacity of our public medical schools, which are renowned for their quality and integrity."

-Its also common knowledge that a doctor shortage is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the health human resources crisis," adds Ballermann.

-There are serious shortages in most health science professions including pharmacists, laboratory technologists, physiotherapists, and mental health professionals. Our governments cant reduce wait times without focusing on all the professions that make the system work."

CHPS has consistently urged the federal government to work with the provinces to develop and implement a comprehensive national health human resources strategy that would reduce wait times by bolstering the numbers of all health professionals.

More information:
● Mike Luff (613) 228-9800