According to a recent survey, approximately 20% of family doctors in Toronto are likely to close their practises in the next five years, despite the fact that Ontario’s healthcare system is already in crisis.
Some people working in the healthcare industry are quite concerned by the data because it indicates that the present issues people have obtaining a family doctor will only become worse.
The study’s primary author, Dr. Tara Kiran, said that she was “very concerned.” It was conducted by St. Michael’s Hospital and Unity Health Toronto and was published in the Canadian Family Physician magazine.
“In Ontario, there are now 1.8 million people without a primary care doctors. To me, it serves as a wake-up call that we must make serious efforts to solve this problem “added Kiran.
In January 2021, a survey of more than 1,000 family doctors was conducted. 77 doctors, or 17.5% of the 439 respondents, who were asked about their future intentions, said they intended to close their practise within the next five years.
Nearly 4% of the doctors in that group stated they would close within the upcoming year.
Demographic retirement patterns are a role since the study discovered that the doctors who are going to retire tend to be older. However, the study also discovered that many doctors who claim they are nearing retirement maintain their own private practises.
According to Kiran, that kind of care entails additional administrative and financial burdens in addition to stress, which many younger family doctors are finding difficult to manage.
“You are an independent small company owner. It may be really challenging to do something as basic as take a vacation or parental leave “explained Kiran.
“You’re carrying the load on your own if your income diminishes, which it did for many doctors during the beginning of the epidemic,” she continued.
Family doctors could be switching to sports medicine, for instance, or concentrating in areas like palliative care, according to Kiran.
They don’t intend to quit their jobs entirely, but they are switching to jobs they perceive as less stressful.
The study’s results are consistent with similar surveys conducted by the Ontario Medical Association.
Dr. Rose Zacharias, president of the OMA, concurs that family doctors are becoming more worried about the administrative demands of their practises.
“We are aware that doctors waste too much time on administrative tasks. And we don’t want our doctors to be preoccupied with it, “In an interview, Zacharias stated.
Doctors are “very burned out” because of the documentation load, she continued.
The OMA advises licencing additional doctors with overseas training to help address the family doctor shortfall. According to Zacharias, the group intends to collaborate with government organisations to provide practice-ready evaluations so that more foreign doctors may be approved to operate in Ontario.
Better financial rewards will aid in preventing family doctors from quitting the profession, but according to Kiran, it would require more than simply higher salaries.
We are able to concentrate on the task of family medicine because of “not only the amount we are paid, but how we are compensated and how we are supported in terms of infrastructure,” she added.
Currently, finding a family doctor in Ontario is challenging. The recent capacity concerns in hospital emergency rooms are also a result of the fact that many people do not have a primary care physician. According to a prior survey by Unity Health, 1.8 million individuals in Ontario lack access to a family doctor.
The COVID-19 epidemic hastened the departure from the sector, with three times the usual numbers of doctors quitting their jobs in the first half of 2020.
The Ontario government’s Plan to Stay Open includes hiring more doctors, nurses, and personal support staff, a Ministry of Health official told CBC Toronto.
According to the statement, the government is giving doctors more opportunity and financial incentives to start family offices in regions with significant medical needs.
The Ford administration has added 1,800 family doctors since entering office, the ministry reports.