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Response to CMAJ opinion piece regarding the matching system

On November 27, 2017, an opinion piece entitled What to do about the Canadian Resident Matching Service appeared in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ). What follows below is a response to this article by Dr. Janice Willett, Chair of the CaRMS Board of Directors.


RE: What to do about the Canadian Resident Matching Service

To the editor:

I read with interest the article published in the CMAJ on November 27, 2017 entitled What to do about the Canadian Resident Matching Service. I would like to start by stating that I agree with the importance of the issues raised in this article, and the need for discussion and collaboration around potential improvements in the resident matching system and its supporting structures.

It is true that the current system has its challenges, which can lead to uncertainty, anxiety, an increasing work effort on the part of everyone involved and, yes, a rising number of unmatched Canadian medical graduates in recent years.

The application, selection and matching process for more than 3,000 medical school graduates and postgraduate positions is high stakes. At the end of it all, an average 97% of Canadian medical school graduates begin postgraduate training in their year of medical school graduation, while more than 99% begin postgraduate training within the two years following medical school graduation. But there are also other outcomes that matter, and to address them we need to be looking at the entirety of the system. In this regard, we at CaRMS agree with our colleagues throughout the medical education community: together, we can and must do better for those for whom the system has not worked.

When we talk about the residency matching system in Canada, it is important to note that CaRMS is one of many entities that work together in this area. As the authors themselves outline very clearly, the matters raised transcend the boundaries of CaRMS and encompass provincial governments, learner organizations and medical faculties, along with many other inputs and decisionmakers. At CaRMS, we are responsible for the management of the residency match process, and we do so according to the policies dictated by provinces and faculties. The outcomes of the processes we administer are determined by these policies and the decisions of match participants. For this reason, this interesting and thought-provoking article may have been more appropriately titled What to do about the Canadian residency matching process.

As Chair of the CaRMS Board of Directors, I can say that CaRMS is eager and willing to work with all our partners across medical education and to bring our knowledge and expertise to bear on this important issue. We look forward to being at the table when our community discusses ways we can work collectively toward better outcomes at a system level – for applicants, for faculties of medicine and, most importantly, for the health needs of Canadians.

Dr. Janice Willett
Chair, CaRMS Board of Directors

Click here to read the original article (note: gated content)