winter 2013

h e a l t h   p o l i c y
National Physician Survey Flags a Lack of Patient Care Resources and Workforce Planning


NPS Photo

 

 

New data released from the 2013 National Physician Survey shows that 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.

New data released from the 2013 National Physician Survey (NPS) shows that 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 NPS is conducted jointly by College of Family Physician of Canada, the Canadian Medical Association and the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. Nearly 10,500 physicians responded to the survey across Canada.

For physicians in Newfoundland and Labrador, the top five areas that received the most reports of unsatisfactory access were PET Scans (87.2%), publicly funded physiotherapists (71%), publicly funded occupational therapists (66.5%), hospital beds (62.7%) and electronic health records (57%).

Among the key findings is the fact that the average hours worked by physicians in the province is about 57.5 hours per week, the third highest in the country.

Doctors in the province also spend an average of 3.8 hours per week completing administrative forms on behalf of patients. About 42% of physicians from the province who answered the survey say they are overworked. Another 28% said they were dissatisfied with the balance between their personal and professional commitments, while 49.5% said they were satisfied and 14.2% were neutral.

The survey also noted that respondents from this province who provide on-call services spend about 136 hours on-call each month. Of those 136 on-call hours, 54 are spent on direct patient care, 15 hours longer than the national average.

The NPS data also highlights the fact that about 20% of survey respondents from Newfoundland and Labrador say they plan to relocate to another province in the next two years. That compares to the national average of 6% who plan to relocate.

About 10% of the province’s physicians say they intend to leave their rural practice in the next two years in favour of an urban one. The top three factors that will influence their decision to stay are opportunities to participate in continuing medical education, a more reasonable workload and the availability of locums.

Another 8% of physicians from Newfoundland and Labrador say they plan to retire in the next 2 years.

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Nexus
Nexus DEFINED
A connected group or series; a bond, a connection.

Nexus is published quarterly for Newfoundland and Labrador's physicians. It is a forum for the exchange of views, ideas and information for members.