Moira Stilwell’s motherhood issue

The B.C. MLA wants to make life easier for international medical graduates–like her son

by Alex Ballingall

A motherhood issue

Photograph by Stephen Hui

British Columbia MLA Moira Stilwell wants to make it easier for B.C. medical students studying abroad to land residency positions in their home province. Stilwell, recently named parliamentary secretary to Health Minister Michael de Jong, wrote a report on the subject in December called “Action Plan for Repatriating B.C. Medical Students Studying Abroad.” In it, she argued that British Columbians studying medicine outside North America have a tough time returning home to work.“The primary challenge they face is in regard to accessing residency positions in B.C.,” Stilwell wrote. What she didn’t state in her report: the fact that her son is one of those students.

When asked about her personal stake in the issue, Stilwell was undeterred.“It’s not about one person, it’s about thousands of Canadian kids abroad,” she told the online newsmagazine The Tyee last week. Health Minister de Jong, meanwhile, told the B.C. news website that he was unaware Stilwell has a son attending med school in Ireland.

As it stands now, residency positions are only open to graduates of North American programs, which share the same accreditation process. Those studying outside the continent must pass exams before they can apply for Canadian residencies. Stilwell’s report recommends that B.C. create 57 new residency positions before opening up the application process to B.C. students at medical schools outside North America.

That might not be the best idea, according to the Canadian Resident Matching Service. The organization prefers the status quo, pointing out that there’s wide variation in the quality of education at medical schools around the world, making it difficult to ensure international standards compare with those in Canada.




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Moira Stilwell’s motherhood issue

  1. Dr. Moira Stilwell, perhaps you should have retained your post as a radiologist at St. Paul’s if you really wanted to help solve the physician shortage that you seem so desperate to fix.

    Does your heart surgeon husband Dr.(blank for privacy ;) ) agree that there is a global physician shortage? Last time I checked there is an overabundance of cardiologists and cardiothoracic surgeons in the Vancouver area.

    Please ask yourself, would you be singing the same tune if your son had the grades, work ethic and perseverance to get into a Canadian medical school?

    I am assuming you and your husband are both fine physicians who worked very hard to achieve what you have, why do you think there should be a backdoor for those that can’t make it through the front?

    How do you think this makes Canadian medical students feel? Especially those that spent many years trying to get in? Don’t you think they deserve to be part of the conversation? (even though they don’t have any $ or political weight to throw around)

    I do agree with you that we need more family docs, especially in rural places, but do you really think that this is the solution?

  2. Wouldn’t a foreign-trained doctor be able to do more than a nurse? Put all the foreign-trained doctors on salary for 10 years before they can practise independently. That will provide affordable health care and yet give these foreign-trained physicians the opportunity to practise.

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