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Decline of Family Medicine Popularity in Quebec

The popularity of family medicine continues to decline among Quebec students, with 91 family medicine residency positions remaining vacant after the first round of matching, according to data from the Canadian Resident Matching Service (CaRMS).

CaRMS, the pan-Canadian organization that assigns medical graduates a specialty for their residency, also reported that only six specialty residency positions remain vacant this year. This means that over 90 per cent of all unfilled medical residency positions in the province are in family medicine.

Dr. Marc-Andr├® Amyot, president of the Quebec Physicians Federation (FMOQ), expressed deep sadness at this trend, stating, “It doesn’t surprise me, but it saddens me deeply. It’s a great disappointment.”

Over the past 12 years, nearly 600 family medicine training positions have gone unfilled, resulting in 600 doctors who will not be available to provide services to Quebecers for the next 30 years, according to the FMOQ. Amyot described this situation as “catastrophic.”

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It is anticipated that family medicine residency positions will be filled in the second round of matching, similar to last year when 26 positions were filled between the first and second rounds, reducing vacancies from 99 to 73.

Amyot emphasized the concerning statistic that 25 per cent of family doctors in Quebec are over the age of 60, with many leaving the profession each year. The public network has lost around 40 family doctors in the past year, exacerbating the existing shortage of over 1,200 family doctors.

To address this issue, Amyot stressed the importance of correcting differences in remuneration between family doctors and other specialists, eliminating coercive legislative measures, and reducing administrative burden and work overload. Failure to address these challenges could worsen the shortage of family doctors in Quebec.


This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on March 21, 2024.

The Canadian Press health content receives funding through a partnership with the Canadian Medical Association. The Canadian Press is solely responsible for editorial choices.

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