Skip to main content

Saudi trainee doctors set to head home from Canada in diplomatic row




Saudi Arabia has told hundreds of trainee doctors to leave Canada with only weeks’ notice in the midst of a diplomatic spat, a move that could disrupt Canadian hospitals and end a 40-year-old program to train specialists for the kingdom.

Angered by Ottawa calling for the release of arrested Saudi civil society activists, Saudi Arabia retaliated this week by freezing new trade with Canada, expelling the country’s ambassador and blocking imports of Canadian grain.

Riyadh ordered all Saudi students in Canada to return home by the end of the month, creating a logistical nightmare for the students and for top teaching hospitals in the country.

Saudi Arabia is the largest source of foreign-trained medical residents and fellows, or trainees, in Canada, and was set to occupy 95 percent of international residency spots in the coming academic year.

In 2016, nearly five percent, or 765, of Canada’s trainee doctors came from Saudi medical schools, according to the Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada.

“We will have to cover any holes in the schedule with either our own trainees or our staff physicians,” said Gillian Howard, a spokeswoman for the University Health Network, which operates four Toronto hospitals that stand to lose 86 doctors.

“It will be stressful, but we have to do it.”

The order to return home affects about 12,000 Saudi students and family members, Saudi officials said on state television.

University of Ottawa law and medicine professor Amir Attaran said a Saudi student he did not know knocked on his door on Tuesday, pleading for help to stay in the country.

“Where do you go with that?” he said. “Of course there’s nothing I can do.”

Saudi students were “worried” and looking for more directives from their government on what to do, said Aseel Ameen of the Saudi Students Club in Ottawa. 

Some are looking at how to get out of leases on apartments, sell furniture and buy flights. 

National carrier Saudia, which said it will suspend service to Canada from Monday, set up a hotline for students to call and make arrangements to fly home.

“We hope that everyone will be quick to end all ties and apply for a return ticket to the Kingdom within one month,” the Saudi education ministry tweeted on Tuesday.

The association representing Canada’s resident doctors said in a statement that the Saudi students’ forced departure “could have very negative consequences” on the Canadian healthcare system’s ability to provide timely care.

The Saudi medical trainees are part of a four-decade-old Riyadh-funded program that has trained Saudi graduates to eventually practice medicine at home.

In 2012, a Canadian government release said more Saudi doctors were training in Canada than anywhere else in the world.

The quality of care in Saudi Arabia has been criticized by many Saudis, and the government is under pressure to address a shortage of doctors.

Only 27 percent, or about 24,000, of the country’s doctors and dentists were Saudi nationals in the year 1437 AH, which covers parts of 2015 and 2016, according to Saudi government statistics. 

The kingdom relies heavily on foreign-born doctors, with specialists in particular commanding high salaries.

“Many of the (Canada-based) trainees are fairly senior, doing fellowships, getting subspecialty experience,” said Salvatore Spadafora, a vice dean with the University of Toronto’s medical school, where 216 students are affected.

“You just know they’re going to go back and do so many great things for their country, and that potential loss is unfortunate.”

The Saudi government has said it will relocate citizens studying in Canada to other countries. 

But it is not clear when or how medical fellows will resume their specialized training.

Moving countries in the midst of a medical fellowship is “not a common pathway”, Spadafora said.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Armenian protesters block traffic, railways & airport as protest leader loses PM bid

Anti-government protesters disrupted traffic in Armenia’s capital, blocking railways and roads leading to Yerevan International Airport, after the parliament voted against opposition leader Nikol Pashinyan’s bid for interim PM.
Protesters managed to block streets connecting downtown Yerevan to residential districts, disrupting transportation in Armenia’s capital, footage from the scene shows. 
Yerevan’s metro system has also been paralyzed as demonstrators sit on the tracks, preventing trains from passing.
Meanwhile, protesters disrupted traffic on a road leading to Yerevan’s Zvartnots International Airport, located just 12km from the center of the city. 
Consequently, some passengers had to go the rest of the way on foot in order to catch their flights, according to Sputnik news agency.
Railway services have also been disrupted all across the country amid the demonstrations, a spokesman for South Caucasus Railways confirmed to Interfax. 
Some other highways, including the one connecting th…

Iran Killing Command: The use of firearms in dealing with protesters

The document you see on the image is the order of the commander of the Tehran repressive force to all the units based in the city.

Based on this agenda, the mercenaries of the corrupt government Islamic Republic of Iran have been allowed to use firearms in the event of any protest movement against people by the regime.
This is a murder command.
The repressive force of the law, known to the world's famous police and guardians, should protect the lives of its citizens, by freeing their mercenaries, they allow them to murder Iranians who are protesting the corruption in the government and you have the important message that if you come to the streets in protest of corruption and torture and massacre, we will kill you.
Because, according to criminal Khomeini, maintenance of the system is obligatory.
A corrupt government that is so hideous that spend billions of dollars from the national treasury and popular capitalto the suppression of its people and the countries of the region, must be ov…

ایران فرمان قتل : دستور استفاده از سلاح گرم در برخورد با معترضان

سندی که در تصویر میبینید دستور فرمانده نیروی سرکوبگر انتظامی تهران به همه یگانهای مستقر در این شهر است.
بر اساس این دستور کار ، مزدوران حکومت فاسد نظام جمهوری اسلامی اجازه یافته اند که درصورت بروز هرگونه جنبش اعتراضی از سوی مردم علیه رژیم ، از سلاح گرم استفاده کنند.
این دستور یک فرمان قتل است.
نیروی سرکوبگر انتظامی که به ظاهر و تعریف شناخته شده پلیس در سراسر جهان ، میبایست حافظ جان شهروندان باشد ، با آزاد گذاشتن دست مزدوران چکمه پوش خود انها را مجاز به قتل ایرانیان معترض به فسادهای موجود درلایه های حکومت میکنند و این پیام مهم را در خود دارد که اگر در اعتراض به  فساد و شکنجه و کشتار به خیابانها بریزید شما را خواهیم کشت.
چرا که به گفته خمینی دجال، حفظ نظام از اوجب واجبات است.
حکومت فاسدی که انقدر وقیح هست که میلیاردها دلار از خزانه ملی و سرمایه مردمی را صرف سرکوب مردم خود و کشورهای منطقه میکند باید سرنگون کرد.
اکنون چهل سال است که کشور ما به اشغال این ملایان جنایکتارخونخوار و اسلام تحمیلی در آمده است .
هنوز باورش برای برخی سخت است که درک کنند کشور ما به معنای واقعی کلمه از سوی بنیادگرایان الله…