Dr. Jon Gerrard, a Winnipeg pediatrician who went from the heights of political success with a post in the federal cabinet to a narrow defeat in the 1997 federal election, is now devoting his attention to improving health care for children. He thinks the internet can play a lead role in these improvements.
A December plane crash in northern Manitoba served to remind the province's "fly-in" physicians of the perils their work may entail. Four people were killed and 13 injured in the crash, which left Dr. Gerry Huot in serious condition in a Winnipeg hospital. The accident caused a serious head injury, and 4 months later he remains in hospital. It is causing some physicians to rethink their travel plans.
For the third year in a row, Manitoba municipalities have passed a resolution asking that physicians trained outside the Commonwealth be permitted to work as medical residents in rural communities. The resolution noted that most graduates of the University of Manitoba's Class of '96 had already accepted positions outside the province. Although the provincial government has sweetened the pot for Canadian-trained physicians, a long-term solution to Manitoba's critical shortage of rural physicians seems elusive.
In northern Manitoba and the Northwest Territories, aboriginal communities receive their medical care via a network of nursing stations run by the J.A. Hildes Northern Medical Unit at the University of Manitoba. Most care is provided by nurse practitioners and local health care staff, supported by weekly visits from Winnipeg-based physicians and weekend telephone consultations. It is hoped that more aboriginal students will eventually choose medicine as a career and return to live and work in their communities. The CMA helps support this goal through a bursary program for native students.
Erratum In: Can Med Assoc J 1997 Feb 15;156(4):485