Shortage of Family Physicians in Ontario

Essay by ahmederum March 2007

download word file, 6 pages 3.0

Back in the year 1999, the Ontario Medical Association first declared that physician human resource shortage represents a "looming crisis" (Lofsky et al. 2005). Today, patients, physicians, and policymakers are all in agreement regarding the physician shortage facing Ontario, Canada. This shortage is said to be of unprecedented proportions, and one of the most significant challenges facing the health care system of the region. Tens of thousands of Ontarians are at risk of not having access to physician services in a timely manner ("Tackling the Doctor Shortage" 2004). In other words, the health of Ontario is in jeopardy. The family physician shortage problem affects communities as large as Toronto in addition to towns and rural areas across the province ("McMaster Medical Students Offered Incentive to Choose Family Medicine" 2004). One in ten Ontario residents is said not to have a family doctor. Nine in ten have access to family physicians.

And, the overall provincial physician shortage exceeds 2,100 doctors, half of whom should be family doctors (Levitt 2005).

In the city of Hamilton, Ontario, approximately 47 percent of the people immunized at vaccination clinics in the year 2005 indicated that they have no family physician. The number jumped to 100 percent for immigrants seen at the Settlement and Immigration Services clinics. So, the Public Health and Community Services used the National Immunization Week (April 24-30) to advice the residents of Hamilton that are affected by the family physician shortage that immunization services are indeed available, and to stress to all residents the importance of timely vaccinations to protect against vaccine preventable diseases. This effort provided a certain form of relief to the residents of Hamilton affected by the family physician shortage. What is more, the Hamilton Academy of Medicine reported that around 20,000 to 30,000 residents do...