Health and Community Services
July 18, 2007

27 Bursaries Awarded to Increase Availability of Family Physicians in the Province

As part if its commitment to recruit and retain physicians in the province, the Provincial Government this year has awarded 27 bursaries to Memorial University medical students and residents with a total annual program cost of over $575,000. The Honourable Ross Wiseman, Minister of Health and Community Services, made the announcement today.

"Our government is aggressively working to attract and retain our province�s medical graduates to improve access to health care services for residents throughout Newfoundland and Labrador," said Minister Wiseman. "We invest approximately $6 million annually for initiatives such as the family practice bursary program, which will improve the availability of family physicians in areas of need, including many rural areas of our province."

The $25,000 bursaries provide financial incentives to eligible candidates to assist with academic and living expenses during training. The bursaries are eligible to fourth-year medical students who have been accepted and matched to a family medicine program through the Canadian Resident Matching Service (CaRMS); family medicine residents in their first or second year; and, third-year residents practising in emergency medicine.

Each bursary has a one-year return of service attached, with an applicant being able to apply for more than one bursary. Successful candidates were selected based on their application and reference letters, where they intend to practice, and their year of residency.

Of the 27 individuals receiving bursaries, 20 are currently in either their second or third year family practice residencies and will graduate within the next 12-14 months. Given the number of family practice medical graduates from the university each year ranges from 20 to 22, the province will be recruiting almost the entire class. Additionally, for the past two years, the Provincial Government has funded every eligible applicant for the program.

Previous to this year, a total of 117 bursaries have been awarded in the last three years to post-graduate residents who have committed to provide medical services in areas of need in the province upon graduation, including the family practice bursaries. These 117 bursaries have been awarded to 79 different physicians in training, and will result in 117 years of new physician services being committed to the province.

"Government is having success with recruiting and retaining medical graduates," said Minister Wiseman. "We currently have 985 physicians in active practice in the province, the most in our province�s history. Additionally, we have improved our retention rates of the physicians we are recruiting 80 per cent of the MUN graduates that we recruit are in practice in the province after five years."

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Media contact:
Tansy Mundon
Director of Communications
Department of Health and Community Services
709-729-1377, 685-1741

2007 07 18                                                  10:05 a.m.


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