Sask. College of Medicine seeks program expansion, but doesn’t help current doctor shortage


New facilities were opened at the Regina campus for the College of Medicine, including a program expansion and a new anatomy lab. The University of Saskatchewan and the Ministry of Health are hoping these changes to the program help retain the graduates.“I want to encourage all of you, please choose to practice in Saskatchewan,” said Saskatchewan Health Minister Paul Merriman.The program welcomed its first group of 40 first-year students in August of 2022. Previously, only years 2-4 were offered in Regina. Now, all four can be offered in the Queen City.Preston Smith, the College of Medicine dean, stressed the importance of having students in the hospital early. Story continues below advertisement “Medical students are first taught by patients and medical students from day one, first-year interact with patients on a daily basis in the cafeteria and the wards.”To support the expansion of the four-year program, a new classroom, study spaces and anatomy lab have been added to campus facilities.The new lab is fitted with modern anatomy tools, equipment and provides students with hands-on studies coupled with essential clinical skills.Although the expansion is needed for the program, one family doctor in Saskatoon is concerned it’s not addressing the current shortage of family doctors in Saskatchewan. Trending Now Marlys Misfeldt has practiced in Saskatoon for 42 years.Originally a graduate of the U of S, Doctor Misfeldt says the college of medicine is not graduating family doctors like it used to.“I’ve certainly have had medical students tell us that they have heard within the college of medicine that if you had any real smarts you would do a specialty,” says Misfeldt. 2:06 New study shows Saskatchewan has third highest clinic wait times in Canada Story continues below advertisement Misfeldt says there are more and more family doctors retiring than new ones coming to Saskatchewan. Her practice has been flooded with residents from Saskatoon and surrounding areas hoping she is accepting new patients.“I spoke to a patient yesterday who said their family doctor retired and didn’t even bother to notify her practice that she was retiring.”Misfeldt says they had a posting for a family doctor up for two years at her practice that never got filled.When a family does not get a new family doctor they usually turn to walk-in clinics. Misfeldt says the care those clinics can provide might not be what’s best for its patients.In September 2022, the government of Saskatchewan released a plan to recruit, train, incentivize, and retain health care workers to the province. Minister Merriman says that over the last 17 months, the province has recruited 155 physicians with approximately 58 being family doctors.“There are a lot of physicians coming out. We do have some retiring, we do have some that moved to other provinces, but net overall we are up 80 physicians since 17 months ago.” &copy 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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