Medical specialists have trouble finding work
For Thursday’s report from the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, titledToo Many, Too Few Doctors? Whats Really Behind Canadas Unemployed Specialists?researchers interviewed more than 40 people with in-depth knowledge, such as deans of medical schools and hospital CEOs, and conducted an online survey of 4,000 newly graduated doctors. Among respondents, 208 or 16 per cent reported being unable to secure employment, compared with 7.1 per cent of all Canadians as of August. Urologists, critical care specialists, gastroenterologists, ophthalmologists, orthopedic surgeons and general surgeons, and doctors from other sub-specialties were among those who said they were unemployed. The report’s authors said there were three main drivers: More physicians competing for fewer resources such as operating rooms and hospital beds at the same time that relatively weak stock market performance meant many specialists were delaying their retirement. Slower job growth for specialists as the health-care system in some cases substitutes other health professionals such as nurse practitioners and physician assistants for physicians. Established specialists may also be reluctant to share resources such as operating room time. Lack of adequate career counselling and personal choices about type and location of practice when new graduates have family responsibilities (spousal employment, caring for children or elderly parents) that make it harder to move to job opportunities. Half of respondents in 2012 said they hadn’t received any careercounselling. Dr. Christine Herman is a recently trained cardiac surgeon. She is like about 31 per cent of new specialists who said they chose not to enter the job market but instead pursued more training, which they hoped would make them more employable. Herman said medical schools and the provinces and territories need to do a better job of workforce planning. “I think that the training programs aren’t in sync with the needs that are out there,” Herman said.
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Lots of specialists need essential medical resources to practice and these are very sensitive to the state of the economy, says Danielle Frechette. Photograph by: Dario Ayala , The Gazette MONTREAL – An alarming proportion of new medical specialists who have had a decade of training canat find a job in their profession in Canada. And this despite patients enduring weeks and months of delays to see specialists in many disciplines. Is there a surplus of physicians?, asks a new report by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada made public Thursday. The report revealed that 16 per cent of medical specialists were unemployed in 2011 and 2012, compared to 7.1 per cent of all Canadians. aI wouldnat say thereas a surplus of physicians. That is the simple conclusion that unfortunately can be drawn by an observation that doctors canat always find work,a said Danielle FrAchette of the Royal College, an Ottawa-based organization that sets Canadaas standards for postgraduate medical education. The report presents a national overview from two years of data from 2011 to 2012 on the scope of medical unemployment among specialists and the reasons behind it, which are largely economic. aActually, early finding from 2013 data shows itas continuing,a FrAchette said in an interview. aThis is particularly troubling. These individuals have spent years training, but Canadians continue to wait for timely care.a The report warned of a potential abrain draina a doctors leaving Canada to find jobs a and a abrain wastea in underemployed surgeons going to office practice, for example. aThe research reveals one big piece that weave been missing all along,a FrAchette said: Lots of specialists need essential medical resources to practice a hospital beds, operating rooms, operating room nurses, support staff in intensive care units a and these aare very sensitive to the state of the economy.a Frozen health budgets affect hospital operating budgets, which, in turn, affect specialty medicine.