Thanks to Dr Douglas Deans for highlighting this recently-published report from a collaborative taskforce in Canada, which has been set up to identify positive actions that are likely to result in a more robust, sustainable and supported rural health service in Canada. The collaboration comprises the Society of Rural Physicians of Canada (SRPC) and the College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC).
The report is refreshingly succinct, relevant and pragmatic, and likely to be of interest to anyone who is trying to work out how to articulate the balance between effective action and strategic direction to influence national policies, in the context of conflicting and difficult policy decision-making. Many rural GPs and educators will be familiar with the challenge of identifying realistic interventions which can translate into more sustainable recruitment and retention to rural communities, so this road map from Canada is likely to be a welcome read.
Recruiting and retaining family physicians in rural areas through financial incentives alone is not enough. We need a coordinated and thoughtful alignment of education, practice policies, community involvement, and government support. Family medicine residents who are educated in rural training sites, who immerse themselves in the communities and who see themselves supported by peers, specialists, health care providers, and evolving distance technologies, are more likely to choose rural and stay rural.
Dr Trina Larsen Soles – SRPC Co-Chair of Taskforce