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For Immediate Release


May 28, 2007

Ministry of Health




VICTORIA – Additional funding for postgraduate medical education will ensure the province has enough residency positions available to accommodate the increase in medical students graduating as a result of the province’s medical school expansion, announced Health Minister George Abbott. 


Doctors who graduate from medical school with a medical degree need to have postgraduate training before they can qualify to be licensed for independent practice.


“By 2008, the first graduates from the expanded and distributed University of British Columbia undergraduate program will be ready for postgraduate medical education and we are ensuring there are sufficient residency positions for them,” said Abbott. “This year we will invest $75.1 million in postgraduate medical education, up from $66.7 million last year and an increase of 73 per cent from $43.3 million in 2003/04 when the postgraduate medical education expansion first began.”


The additional money will fund an increase in the number of first year residency spaces for Canadian medical graduates in 2007, with 80 for family practice and 144 for specialty training - up from a total of 128 positions in 2003.  This is in addition to the International Medical Graduate program expansion announced in 2005 that includes 12 residency positions for family practice and six for specialty training.  The increased funding for postgraduate training includes $4.2 million for the IMG-BC program in 2007/08, up from $1.1 million in 2005/06.


“We are grateful for the Ministry of Health’s support and innovative approach to expanding postgraduate medical education in B.C.,” said Dr. Gavin Stuart, dean of UBC Faculty of Medicine. “The expansion will ensure that in partnership with B.C.’s health authorities we can train more health care professionals for the province.” 


Training of undergraduate MD students consists of two years of university-based instruction followed by two years of clinical-based training in health care facilities.  After completing undergraduate MD education, two further years of postgraduate residency follows for doctors entering family practice and up to seven years of residency training for doctors entering specialties.  Residents complete their training at various hospitals and public facilities across British Columbia, often serving smaller communities and areas of need.


“This is a very exciting time for medical education in B.C., including the North,” said Dr. Ed Turski, site director, UBC Family Practice Residency at Prince George.  “Approximately 70 per cent of the physicians choose to stay in the North when they complete their residency training which has a terrific benefit for our communities. In fact, residents who completed their training here make up a substantial contribution to the staffing of the emergency department at Prince George Regional Hospital”.


Investments by the province in postgraduate residency training and undergraduate medical education are part of the government’s commitment to address access to physician services issues, now and in the future. The MD graduating class of 2008 will complete their residency training and be ready to enter the workforce as licensed family physicians in 2010, and as specialists as early as 2012.




 1 backgrounder(s) attached.





Marisa Adair

Communications Director

Ministry of Health

250 920-8500 (cell)

250 952-1887 (media line)


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