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Canada Specific Healthcare Question 1
Due to the shortage of physicians in rural communities such as those in Northern Ontario, it has been suggested that medical programmes preferentially admit students who are willing to commit to a 2- or 3-year tenure in an under-serviced area upon graduation. Consider the broad implications of this policy for health and health care costs. For example, do you think the approach will be effective? At what expense? Discuss this issue with the interviewer.
I believe that there are positive and negative outcomes of this policy, and that both must be weighed up to determine whether it would be effective. The key benefit is naturally that such a scheme could help improve the levels of healthcare in rural communities, by providing these areas with a greater number of staff. There are many barriers that pastoral communities face in terms of accessing healthcare, such as travel limitations or a lack of resources available. The provision of more healthcare professionals could help tackle this; for example, distributing physicians equally around these areas would make it easier for patients to commute to consultations and receive the appropriate treatment.
However, I do believe that are disadvantages to such a programme. Prioritising students who are willing to commit to this tenure may place less emphasis on or devalue academic qualifications and other requirements to enter Medicine, such as interviews or personal statements. Furthermore, it is unlikely that these students would be fully aware of the challenges of working in rural communities, therefore adapting to it after graduation may be difficult. These communities are often tight-knit and secluded, creating challenges when it comes to establishing patient rapport in such a new and unique environment, particularly if there are potential language barriers. There may also be difficulties regarding practicality - like a shortage of technology - and additionally the conditions or diseases seen in these areas may differ from urban areas due to variabilities in culture and ethnicity, for example.
Therefore, whilst I do believe that rural areas do need more help regarding healthcare accessibility, I feel that this policy may not be effective, and could create issues amongst these local communities.