February 18, 2005


Town's last six doctors quitting (ROB FERGUSON, 2/18/05, Toronto Star)

Ontario's doctor shortage is taking a turn for the worse as the last six physicians in the town of Geraldton are quitting en masse, presenting another headache for Health Minister George Smitherman.

The move will leave the local hospital and thousands of patients with no physicians when the departures take effect in May — unless months of failed efforts to recruit replacement physicians suddenly pay off.

Losing its doctors will likely move Geraldton to the top of the list of about 140 cities and towns in the province officially designated by the government as being short of doctors. About 100 of those are in southern Ontario.

The Ontario Medical Association estimates one million Ontarians don't have family physicians and says that number is likely to grow with hundreds of doctors — many of them over 65 — within a few years of retiring.

The canaries are dead--stay out of the mine.

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 18, 2005 2:00 PM

Canada gets our outraged actors, slackers and socialists, and we get their doctors and entrepreneurs yearning to breathe free. A symbiotic relationship making both sides happy if not healthy.

Posted by: Pat H at February 18, 2005 3:38 PM

Interesting tone and emphasis in the story. Note that the doctor exodus is a "headache" for the Health Minister (what about sick people looking for the now absent doctors), note the government response, moving Geraldton to the top of the list of places without doctors (instead of asking why they are doctorless and how one might get more doctors). The writer is so invested in the worldview that created the problem he can't even acknowledge a crisis when writing about it.

Posted by: Luciferous at February 18, 2005 4:22 PM

If they are clever they will advertise for English-speaking physicians from Eastern Europe to make up for the shortfall.

Posted by: Bart at February 18, 2005 4:30 PM


In charity shouldn't we warn the migrating doctors?

Posted by: Luciferous at February 18, 2005 5:00 PM

We should be doing the same because there are areas of the country that are under-served. Doctors from Eastern Europe are better trained than anyone from the Third World or from these diploma mills in the Caribbean.

Canadian doctors may make less than 1/3 of their American counterparts, but if you're making $300/month in Bucharest or Sofia, that looks pretty good.

Posted by: Bart at February 18, 2005 5:17 PM

We won't have to invade. We will have to go in to secure the dumps from marauding animals.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at February 19, 2005 1:28 AM

When I crushed three vertebrae in an accident, I had one of the best back surgeons in North America, who just happened to love Vancouver. A few years later, he was chastised by the government and local media as an "overbiller" when he billed the medical system over a million dollars in the course of one year.

Guess what, he still loves Vancouver, but now he only works a few months of the year and holidays for the rest. There is no way I could see him again if I need to.

The young doctors in my home town are either foreigners or kids I grew up with that got Cs in school.

Posted by: Randall Voth at February 19, 2005 8:15 AM