Queen’s Park adding 14 new medical seats to Queen’s U, with “many” designated for Lakeridge Health Oshawa partnership

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Published April 24, 2023 at 3:22 pm

The newly formed partnership between Queen’s University’s medical school and Lakeridge Health is getting a boost with Monday’s announcement from Queen’s Park that the school will be granted an additional 14 undergraduate seats and 22 post-graduate positions, with “many” of the new positions designated to Lakeridge Health in Oshawa.

The collaboration, the first-of-its-kind-in-Canada, is an education and training approach launched last fall that will help to address the ongoing family physician shortage in many  Ontario communities.

The program, which prioritizes candidates who want to establish a comprehensive family medicine practice, means greater peace of mind for residents, knowing that increased access to community-based care is closer to home, said Ontario Minister of Colleges and Universities Jill Dunlop at a Monday afternoon press conference at the Oshawa hospital.

“Medical education expansion is a key part of our government’s plan to connect Durham Region’s growing population to health care closer to home,” said Dunlop. “We’re training the next generation of Ontario doctors right here at home. Expanding the number of medical seats that prioritize Ontarians will make it easier for the homegrown doctors of tomorrow to receive training and provide world-class health care where it is needed most.”

Queen’s University’s allotment of 14 new undergraduate seats and 22 new postgraduate medical training positions brings the total number of spots at the university to 134 undergraduate and 178 postgraduate seats by 2028.

Twenty of those undergraduate positions will be awarded to Lakeridge Health when the program launches thia September.

Queen’s University School of Medicine

“We’re grateful for the continued support of our government partners. At Lakeridge Health, we’re committed to creating a strong, integrated system of care through partnerships. And we’re proud to collaborate with Queen’s University on the recent launch of the innovative Queen’s-Lakeridge Health MD Family Medicine Program that’s focused on training the next generation of primary care physicians,” said Lakeridge Health Board of Trustees Chair Cordelia Clarke Julien. “We recognize that access to family doctors is at the core of a healthy population. Today’s announcement goes a long way to addressing the chronic physician shortage, while fostering healthy communities in Central East Ontario.”

The new positions are part of the government’s provincewide plan – announced in Budget 2023 – to create another 100 undergraduate medical school seats starting in 2023 and another 154 postgraduate medical training positions beginning in 2024 and will help more Ontario students become doctors in their home province.

This expansion is part of the government’s Your Health plan, which includes initiatives to hire more health care workers.

Ontario Health Minister Sylvia Jones

“Increasing the number of doctors and other health care workers trained in Ontario will enhance access to care for communities throughout the province,” said Sylvia Jones, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. “Whether these students go on to work in primary care, a hospital or in the community, this investment is another part of our plan to grow our health workforce and help connect Ontarians to convenient care for years to come.”

The Ontario government is expanding the number of undergraduate seats and postgraduate medical school positions to ensure there are enough doctors to meet the health care needs of Durham Region’s growing population and help address the shortage of family doctors.

“Our government is adding more doctors in Durham Region so that we can connect more people in the community to the care they need where and when they need it,” said Peter Bethlenfalvy, Minister of Finance and MPP of nearby Pickering-Uxbridge Riding, who added that the latest provincial budget is helping to drive “economic growth, attract jobs and investments, and build key infrastructure projects faster.”

This new investment builds on the expansion of 160 undergraduate and 295 postgraduate medical training seats announced last year, the largest expansion of Ontario’s medical school system in more than a decade. The government is investing $100.8 million over three years to support the rollout of those seats.

Five of Ontario’s six existing medical schools across Ontario will be allocated 14 new undergraduate seats and 22 new postgraduate medical training positions including Queen’s, McMaster University, the Northern Ontario School of Medicine, the University of Ottawa and the University of Toronto. Western University has been allocated 16 new undergraduate seats and 22 new postgraduate medical training positions.

“Communities across Ontario are facing a shortage of doctors, and Queen’s University applauds the government’s investments to create new spaces in the province’s medical schools. Queen’s is pleased to be a partner in training more family physicians and other specialists to help provide the care that Ontarians need,” said Dr. Patrick Deane, Principal and Vice-Chancellor, Queen’s University.

The new medical expansion will bring the total number of undergraduate seats and postgraduate training seats to 1,212 and 1,637 respectively, by 2028. Sixty per cent of the new postgraduate training seats will be in primary care and 40 per cent will be in specialty care.

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