WHERE THE POLAR BEARS ARE: Should Physician Placements in Rural Locations Be Mandatory?

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Shaughnelene Smith
Lauren Smail

Abstract

Currently, the Canadian government and partnered medical associations have numerous incentives as part of their effort to recruit physicians to the remote areas. For example, the BC medical association has an initial bonus of providing physicians with $100 000 if they agree to work in a rural town for a minimum of three years, as well as higher salary and other added benefits for individual practices. Despite these enticing offers, the Canadian government still struggles with a shortage of physicians, indicating that there is still more to be done to satisfy the needs of rural residents. The current question on whether or not it should be mandatory for physicians to be stationed for a year and practice in a rural location could solve the issue of lack of physicians in remote locations; however, we need to take into account these effects on physicians, not just the patients.

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