Too many or too few doctors? What’s really behind Canada’s unemployed specialists
The Royal College report on physician unemployment and underemployment
The Royal College has released the results of a comprehensive, national workforce study that focuses on the growing number of newly certified specialist physicians who have trouble finding work in their specialties.
The two-year national study consisted of 50 in-depth interviews with national specialty societies, physicians, hospital leaders, residents and health system experts, among others, and an online survey of every newly certified specialist physicians in 2011 and 2012.
Related links and documents
National Summit on Physician Employment to be held in February 2014
In February, the Royal College will host a national summit in Ottawa that brings together stakeholders across the health care system, including residents, government, medical education and health care leaders. We expect this forum to serve as the foundation for building a pan-Canadian,cross-jurisdictional solutions.
The objectives of the summit are to
- enhance understanding of physician un/under-employment;
- achieve consensus on how to avoid future ‘boom-bust’ cycles of specialist employment; and
- coordinate and streamline efforts to address physician un/under-employment across the country.
Further details about the summit will be available in November 2013.
The genesis of the project dates back to an exploratory inquiry undertaken by the Royal College that ran from July to November 2010, in preparation for the annual Royal College-National Specialty Societies’ (NSS) Human Resources for Health (HRH) Conference. Feedback from on-line surveys and key-informant interviews painted a disturbing picture.
Specialists such as neurosurgery, cardiac surgery, plastic surgery, public health and preventive medicine (previously community medicine), otolaryngology, nephrology and radiation oncology, among others, were experiencing difficulties in finding employment in Canada. Since then, additional specialties have been added to the list: cardiology, gastroenterology, palliative medicine, urology, orthopedic surgery and thoracic surgery. Given these findings, the NSS asked the Royal College to examine this trend further.
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