Hundreds of Saudi Arabian-based physicians who had been asked to leave Canada in a diplomatic conflict will be able to stay in the country to continue their education for the time being, medical organizations said on Tuesday, expressing their relief at the development.
Saudi Arabia unleashed diplomatic relations, suspended future trade and recalled its students from Canadian schools earlier this month after a federal government tweet criticized the Kingdom of the Middle East for arresting social activists.
About 1,000 Saudi medical residents and fellows were initially told to leave the country by August 31, expressing their concerns about the impact of their abrupt departure on health services.
An organization representing Canadian hospitals said on Tuesday that Saudi medical apprentices had been informed by their government Monday afternoon that they can continue their assignments in the country until an alternative posting can be arranged.
"It eased the tension and allowed them to continue their training in Canada," said Paul-Emile Cloutier, President and CEO of HealthCareCan, pointing out that his organization is keeping track of developments in hospitals and Saudi Arabia be Cultural Bureau, which supervises the program for medical students.
"It also helps our institutions to really allow them to be more organized in their planning."
Cloutier, who said he had lost doctors living in Saudi Arabia, was likely to cause delays. In nursing, hospitals had struggled to find ways to fill in the gaps left by outgoing trainees. However, he pointed out that health care facilities are still waiting for specific details about how long Saudi doctors can live
"We do not know what the impact of yesterday's decision was," he said, adding Organization tries to find out if apprentices who have already left the country can return n.
The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada said the development meant that medical residents could write their case exams, but it was not known how new apprentices would start their programs.
"It is unclear whether Saudi Arabians and scholarship holders starting programs in Canada this year can do so," Dr. Andrew Padmos, the chief executive of the college, in a statement.
A hospital in Ontario said it welcomed the news that Saudi medical residents and fellows may stay, but found that many of its Saudi trainees had already left.
"We are still working with our partners to address significant gaps as a result of the already-abandoned and ongoing uncertainty about how to address this. Richard McLean, medical director of Hamilton Health Sciences, a medical group of seven hospitals and a cancer center.
to the Saudi Arabian Cultural Bureau, most foreign medical students in Canada come from the kingdom. The office did not respond to a request for comment.
The federal government has stated that it is conducting talks with Saudi authorities, but will not relinquish its position on human rights in the Kingdom.