OTTAWA, Oct. 23, 2013 /CNW/ - New data released from the 2013 National
Physician Survey (NPS) show that physicians are concerned over gaps in
our health care system that may be adversely affecting patient care.
Access to key health care resources, the impact of Canada's aging
population and workforce planning issues are posing significant
challenges for Canada's doctors.
The survey found that the leading concerns among physicians include the
insufficient availability of hospital beds, access to publicly-funded
physiotherapists, and advanced diagnostic imaging tools.
"For family physicians, the NPS findings reflect some positive changes
to health care in our country," said Dr. Marie-Dominique Beaulieu,
president of the College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC). "We are
pleased to see progress being made but we remain concerned with access
to key resources that are needed to ensure quality care for all people
Since 2004, the NPS has been a research project conducted jointly by
CFPC, the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) and the Royal College of
Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (Royal College). With nearly 10,500
physicians responding this year, the survey is an important barometer
of the country's present and future doctors on a wide range of health
Among key findings of the 2013 NPS is the fact that physicians continue
to work an average of 54 hours a week providing direct patient care,
research, teaching and administration. Most average an additional 110
hours per month providing on-call services in addition to regular
practice hours. Even with these long work hours, most physicians (59%)
were employed to their satisfaction although nearly one-third indicated
they were overworked.
The 2013 NPS also closely examined the issue of physicians who were
unemployed or under-employed. These issues were most common among
younger physicians and specialists in resource-intensive disciplines
such as cardiovascular and thoracic surgery, general surgery,
orthopedic surgery, nuclear medicine and gastroenterology, which
require access to operating rooms, diagnostic equipment and other
resources. Critical care physicians reported the highest rate of under-
or unemployment at 31%.
"Ensuring Canada has the right mix and supply of physicians to meet the
needs of patients requires first and foremost that the federal
government lead development of a national health human resources
strategy and a permanent agency to support ongoing health workforce
planning," said Royal College president, Dr. Cecil Rorabeck.
The survey also noted a shift in terms of the adoption of technology.
The use of electronic records has jumped from 39% in 2010, to 62% in
2013. Not surprisingly, a quarter of the respondents indicated they had
been using electronic records for less than 3 years.
The NPS data also highlight the fact that as Canada's population ages,
care requirements are also shifting. Fifty nine percent of geriatric
medicine specialists reported a major increase in the need for their
services over the past two years. Dermatology was another area where
over half of respondents (53%) indicated there had been a major
increase in demand for services.
"Canada's doctors know that we need to make changes now to respond to
the evolving health care needs of our aging society," said CMA
president, Dr. Louis Hugo Francescutti. "As a first step that means we
need our federal government to lead the development of a national
strategy for seniors care in collaboration with the provinces and
territories. The time to act is now."
Link to NPS 2013 Backgrounder.
For more information, please visit www.nationalphysiciansurvey.ca or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
SOURCE: College of Family Physicians of Canada
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