This Canadian province could lose doctors amid Saudi-Canada diplomatic row

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Nova Scotia, the second smallest Canadian province, could be losing many doctors because of the diplomatic crisis between Canada and Saudi Arabia.

Fifty-nine medical students from Saudi Arabia are doing their residency in Dalhousie University in the small province.

The Saudi government fully funds these students’ residencies with scholarships administered through the Saudi Arabian Cultural Bureau.

A Saudi student in Nova Scotia said that he received a letter from the Saudi government asking for his return to the Kingdom before August 31.

Doctors Nova Scotia, the professional association representing all physicians in the province, said while “this news is unfortunate,” there doesn’t seem to be a direct impact on Nova Scotia’s ability to recruit and retain physicians.

“While the Saudi residents are here doing their training/fellowships, they do provide clinical care, but for the most part, they all leave as soon as they complete their training to practice medicine elsewhere,” Doctors Nova Scotia said in a statement.

The sequence of events began on Friday, when the Canadian foreign ministry tweeted interfering in Saudi Arabia’s internal affairs, and Saudi Arabia responded by expelling Canadian ambassador, freezing new trade deals between the two countries, suspending flights to and from Toronto, transferring patients from Canadian hospitals, and suspending scholarships to Canada.

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