Health Care 911: the plight of immigrant medical doctors

Health Care 911: the plight of immigrant medical doctors

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Running time:

47 minutes


Available on DVD

Closed Captioned:


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Available in Canada

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Health Care 911 introduces some of the 8,000 medically trained immigrants unable to practice in Canada despite a critical shortage of doctors across the country. Facing the frustration of repeating years of training, exorbitant exam fees and competing for scarce residency positions, doctors from Pakistan, Italy, South Africa and elsewhere describe their battle with government bureaucracy in Canada, a country where less than 5% of immigrant medical doctors (IMDs) will ever practice.

Patrick Coady, coordinator of BC's Internationally Trained Professionals Network, points to a 1991 report for Canada's deputy ministers of health that predicted a doctor surplus and led to a decrease in seats at medical schools. He also questions the role played by the self-regulating colleges of practitioners in preventing IMDs from working in Canada. A representative from the College of Physicians & Surgeons of British Columbia places the blame squarely on lack of government funding. One deputy minister defends his government's policy as a precaution taken for the safety of patients. Meanwhile a woman with a spinal condition, whose mobility has declined irreversibly while she's waited months to see a specialist, is one of thousands of Canadians shocked by the long queues for essential medical procedures.

As immigrant doctors continue to take jobs as security guards and cab drivers, Health Care 911 probes all sides of the growing problem of health care accessibility in Canada.

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