Dr. Katharine Smart is shown in an undated handout photo. As Canadian health-care systems buckle under the weight of doctor shortages, the past president of the Canadian Medical Association is calling for a national licensing pathway for doctors — and some provinces are on board.THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Canadian Medical Association, *MANDATORY CREDIT

Calls grow to streamline licensing for doctors as health-care systems struggle

As Canadian health-care systems buckle under the weight of doctor shortages, the past president of the Canadian Medical Association is calling for a national licensing pathway for doctors — and some provinces are on board.

Dr. Katharine Smart said in a recent interview that the current system in which each province has its own licensing system is confusing and bureaucratically cumbersome, particularly for doctors trained outside of Canada.

She says a national physician licence could provide a single, streamlined process for verifying the credentials of internationally trained doctors.

Smart says doctors trained abroad arrive in the country hoping to practise but are often stymied by the costly licensing process, and they leave for countries where it is easier to get licensed.

Some provinces, including Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador, are working to streamline their procedures as they welcome Ukrainian doctors fleeing the war in their country.

Dr. Gus Grant, registrar of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Nova Scotia, says a national licensing system makes sense, and in the meantime the four Atlantic provinces are discussing ways to co-ordinate licensing across the region.

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