Family medicine spots still unfilled in Alberta

April 27, 2023

Dr. Fredrykka Rinaldi, AMA President

Dear Members,

The Canadian Resident Matching Service (CaRMS) reported an unprecedented number of unfilled family medicine spaces in Alberta in their round one match this year. Unfortunately, the second round of matching has filled only 20 of the 42 vacancies. There are still 22 unfilled family medicine spots in Alberta. Interesting to note that BC, Saskatchewan and Manitoba have no unfilled family medicine spaces.

Residency matching is something we should pay close attention to. A medical student who matched in round one to an Alberta family medicine spot wrote to me recently and noted:

When I speak with those in the medical field and tell them I matched to FM, everyone wants to clarify if it was my first choice or not. I have been met mostly with surprise when I assure them that yes, it is. It's multifaceted, as I am sure you can appreciate, but already I feel it to be a less prestigious choice in the field of medicine. Adding to this narrative is the culture of parallel planning with family medicine as a way to guarantee a residency match. I don't know how we change this, but I hope to work on changing the narrative as a FM resident next year.

The 2023 CaRMS matches are a huge signal that action is needed. More must be done to stabilize and support family medicine and make it a more attractive specialty. We must urgently stabilize practices, retain and attract family physicians and create capacity for training, particularly in rural areas. Other provinces are responding to these challenges much more expeditiously, and that shows in the CaRMS numbers. Government needs to work with physicians to change the landscape to make family medicine - and all specialties - sustainable and attractive in Alberta.

You are always welcome to share your thoughts with me. You can email me via president@albertadoctors.org. You can also comment on this letter on the AMA website.

Regards,

fred Rinaldi, MD, CCFP, FCFP, LLB, MBA, MPA(HSA), BCom
President, Alberta Medical Association
 
"Fate whispers to the warrior, 'You can not withstand the storm.' The warrior whispers back, 'I am the storm.'"

2 comments

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  • #1

    Basma Aman

    Other health care professional

    2:43 PM on April 27, 2023

    I'm in the same boat as this extern/resident. Though I have felt drawn to family medicine out of passion, this seems to be quite a common theme to be questioned regarding this beloved field being the "safe choice". The provincial comparison speaks volumes of far behind we are. It's my ardent request and sincere hope that steps be taken to strengthen primary care.

  • #2

    David Smyth

    Physician

    3:27 PM on April 27, 2023

    The AMA was supposed to do fee equity but kept making excuses and it was never finished. We just lost our third Physician from the clinic so they can make more money in ER and as hospitalists and sedation for scoping. All pay no overhead. The AHS head of Family Medicine commented within the last couple of years that “Family Medicine needs to collapse and rebuild organically”. The 1% raise we took with no fee equity has been the nail in the coffin of Family Medicine. To all grads in Alberta..do not go into Family Medicine especially if the NDP get in. They want government Family Health Clinics run by AHS.

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