Critical shortage of family physicians must be addressed: CMA

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OTTAWA (ON), May 9, 2022 /CNW/ – Over the past few weeks, examples of patients having difficulty finding a family doctor have multiplied across Canada. Family physicians and people seeking care are sounding the alarm. The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) urges key stakeholders to work together to address the structural issues that are decimating primary care across the country.

Family physicians provide comprehensive patient support, ensuring patients have continuity of care and the help they need to navigate our complex healthcare system. Lack of access to family doctors is a growing crisis.

Statistics Canada reported in 2019 that approximately 4.6 million Canadians did not have regular access to a primary care provider. And there is a worrying gap between supply and demand: in December 20212,400 family doctor positions have been advertised on government recruitment websites across Canada. In 2020, however, just over 1,400 family physicians left the postgraduate training system to enter practice. This trend is not new: Over the six-year period between 2015 and 2021, the percentage of medical graduates choosing family medicine rose from 38.5% to 31.8%. Meanwhile, the average age of family physicians today is 49.

Family physicians face immense pressure. Whether it’s administrative tasks such as updating electronic medical records, filling out medical forms, coordinating care between multiple agencies and providers, or managing increasingly complex care plans for a population aging, the expectations of family physicians are at an all-time high. Many also work in hospitals, long-term care facilities, and in specialty practice areas, including obstetrics, anesthesia, and emergency medicine, which are time consuming compared to office practice. Without access to family physicians, patients turn to emergency departments, overwhelming other parts of the health care system.

Family medicine is the foundation of our health care system. We need federal leadership and collaboration with the provinces and territories to reinvent family medicine and move to interdisciplinary team-based care. This will improve efficiency, increase health system capacity, and better meet the needs of patients and physicians in a holistic, responsive, and timely manner.

CMA calls on governments to partner with family physicians to find solutions, including creating a nationwide data framework to better assess and project future family medicine needs across the country and implementing a national licensing model to facilitate the mobility of current physicians. labor between provinces.

dr. Clever Catherine
President, Canadian Medical Association

SOURCE Canadian Medical Association

For further information: To schedule an interview or for more information, please contact: CMA Media Relations: [email protected]613-807-0457

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