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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Debt woes weigh on future doctors' plans

New doctors face higher levels of debt from hitting the books, a new survey of Canadian physicians suggests.

The Canadian Medical Association, the College of Family Physicians of Canada and the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada released the census of doctors and future doctors on Wednesday.

Debt levels associated with getting a medical education continued to increase, according to the report on medical residents and medical students currently registered in all fields at Canadian medical schools.

In 2010, 23 per cent of residents estimated having over $120,000 in education-related debt by the time they complete their residency training, compared with 17 per cent in 2007, the report's authors said.

The highest proportions of residents with over $120,000 in debt were found at Memorial University in Newfoundland (47 per cent) and Northern Ontario School of Medicine (44 per cent). The lowest were at Universities of Laval (6 per cent) and Sherbrooke (7 per cent).

Nearly a quarter, 24 per cent, of medical students said they planned to choose a specialty with a high earning potential, and 17 per cent said they'd chose a shorter residency program to start paying off their debts sooner.