Position Statement July 2022
Access to health care in rural communities
Having equitable access to health care is an ongoing challenge for rural, remote, and Indigenous communities in Canada. The physician workforce available to serve these communities is inadequate due to the lack of a comprehensive health human resource (HHR) plan that would enable rural physicians to commit to practising, teaching, and living in these areas over the long term. Health care needs in rural areas go beyond comprehensive primary care. Recent Canadian Medical Protective Association data show that between 20% and 30% of family doctors who identify as rural family physicians/general practitioners include a broader range of services in their scope of work than non‐rural physicians.i Rural generalist physicians provide emergency care and hospital in‐patient care as part of their core services, and they participate in networks of care that deliver anesthesia, obstetrical, surgical, palliative, population health, and home care services. These components must be part of an HHR plan for rural populations. However, while many programs have been implemented to recruit and support rural physicians, barriers1 still exist that hinder their ability to expand rural generalist care in Canada.2ii
Read the full Statement: Enhancing Canada’s Rural Physician Workforce Through Effective Health Human Resource Planning.