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Rural Canadians travel far for specialists: study

ent of family doctors in the least populated areas provided emergency room care, compared to 15 per cent of their urban counterparts. Also, 33 per cent of family doctors in Canada's rural areas delivered babies in 2004, compared to 9 per cent of family doctors in the biggest cities.

The report also suggests that rural doctors are increasingly following the general trend of narrowing the scope of their practices, indicating the situation may be about to shift. "If rural family doctors didn't provide some specialty services, many people would be forced to travel even greater distances to get medical care-or they would simply go without," says co-author, Dr. Roger Pitblado of the Centre for Rural and Northern Health Research.

"In some parts of Canada, health care delivery programs—such as telemedicine, rural travel allowances, visiting specialists and air ambulance services-assist in bridging distances between urban doctors and rural Canadians," CIHI says in the report.


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