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November 30, 2012
For immediate release

Province introduces Family Medicine Sponsorship Program

Health and Wellness

A new program developed by the Department of Health and Wellness will guarantee 15 new family physicians practising in our province by 2021, says Minister of Health and Wellness Doug Currie.

“The Province of Prince Edward Island is committed to providing Islanders with the highest quality of health care services available including access to a family physician,” said Minister Currie. “The Family Medicine Sponsorship Program will enhance our already strong recruitment and retention initiatives.”

The Family Medicine Sponsorship Program will provide funding for three medical students per year for a five-year pilot period. The funds will be paid directly to the students in the form of stipends to assist with their medical education expenses.

Students enrolled in a recognized Canadian Medical School who plan to practise family medicine can apply to the program at the end of their second year through a competitive application process, which is currently being developed. Successful medical students will receive a $10,000 signing bonus at the end of their second year of medical school, $40,000 stipends in their third and fourth years, and an additional $10,000 in each year of their two-year residency training, for a total of $110,000 per medical student. Preference will be given to Island students.

In return, students will be required to sign a contract for a five-year, Return-in-Service (RIS) commitment to the province in the area of greatest need as identified at the time the physicians enter the health system. The Family Medicine Sponsorship Program will start in 2013. The first group of students will enter our health system in 2017.

“The Family Medicine Sponsorship Program is a proactive approach to planning for the future of our health care system,” said Minister Currie. “The program will increase the number of family physicians practising in our province and help alleviate the pressures placed on our walk-in clinics and emergency rooms.”

For more information on the Family Medicine Sponsorship Program, please visit www.healthjobspei.ca.

BACKGROUNDER

Family Medicine Sponsorship Program

The Family Medicine Sponsorship Program will provide funding to three medical students per year for a five-year pilot period. Preference will be given to Island students. The funds will be paid directly to the students in the form of stipends to assist with their medical education expenses.

Students enrolled in a recognized Canadian Medical School who wish to practise family medicine can apply to the program at the end of their second year through a competitive process, which is currently being developed. Successful medical students will receive a $10,000 signing bonus at the end of their second year of medical school, $40,000 stipends in their third and fourth years, and an additional $10,000 in each year of their two-year residency training, for a total of $110,000 per medical student. The $40,000 stipends are based on the average current cost of tuition, fees, books, supplies and living expenses identified by medical schools across Canada.

In return, students will be required to sign a contract for a five-year, Return-in-Service commitment to the province in the area of greatest need as identified at the time the physicians enter the health system. The program will start in 2013. The first group of students will enter our health system in 2017, and continue up to and including 2021, for a total of 15 new family physicians for the province.

Should a physician decide not to fulfill the RIS contract at the end of their Residency training, they will be required to reimburse the entire amount of funds received from the Province. If they leave prior to completing their 5-year commitment, the contract will identify the actual funds owing to the province on a pro-rated basis similar to the current RIS agreements for physicians.

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Media Contact: April Winchester
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