Poor health system planning often to blame for unemployed docs

Royal College Staff
May 7, 2019 | Author: Royal College Staff
1 MIN READ

For some medical specialists, it feels like everything is working against them in their search for employment:

  • the job market is highly competitive,
  • too many late-career physicians aren’t ready (or willing) to retire,
  • hospitals/care centres don’t have funding for more resources, and
  • the job listings that exist are extremely difficult to access.

But are these individual hurdles actually symptoms of larger failings in the health care system? New data suggests that may be the case.

Employment Study report cover

Study highlights Canada’s shortcomings in workforce and health care planning

On May 1, 2019, the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada released new findings from its employment study. This is the highly anticipated follow-up to their 2013 report that alerted the country to the employment challenges faced by many new specialists.

Since the Royal College began gathering employment data in 2011, between 14 and 19 per cent of new specialists have reported problems securing a job right after they have been certified. The latest study findings show that these challenges are in large part a by-product of shortcomings in workforce and health care planning.

As one recently certified otolaryngologist said,

“There are very few, if any, jobs in Otolaryngology at the present time. This is despite the fact that we graduate over 30 new otolaryngologists per year. The hospitals and potential employers currently have the upper hand as there are many applicants for few jobs.”

While workforce planning is currently focused on aligning physician supply with the health care needs of society, it is missing a number of important elements. These include, for example, the link between practice resources (including personnel and infrastructure) and employability. Other factors also come into play when looking at employment patterns, like family obligations and access to/ transparency of job postings.

Read more findings in the Royal College Employment Study


Note: The title of this article has been amended to enhance clarity (May 9)

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Avatar Ian Woolfson | May 11, 2019
Frankly I think it is appalling that so many of our older specialists won't step down (at least 'slow down') to allow younger doctors join the workforce. In my hospital two of us did this so we could bring a young surgeon in. We have a GI physician who is 73 and needs money! Doctors need to save more and spend less so they can slow down or retire earlier. I enjoy walking through our doctors parking lot everyday so I can see the expensive, new, flashy cars the doctors are wasting their money on. Perhaps if the specialists were a bit more careful with their $$ they would be able to bring younger people in sooner. Specialists are too protective of their domain. Lack of operating time and endoscopy time can make it a bit hard to bring in a new surgeon, but the benefits to all (including the patients) outweighs the drop in salary. And their is othe rwork that you can do(Medical legal/ college/ assisting etc). I see this nonsense happening to a well trained family member who is presently doing a locum while she struggles to find a permanent job. Unfortunately she does not want to go to the USA where she would have a great job tomorrow if she wanted.
Avatar Jerry McGrath | May 10, 2019
Many of the people finishing up as specialists and subspecialists are looking for jobs in large urban areas. We have openings for three Gastroenterologists in Newfoundland. There hasn't been any inquiries. There are jobs out there but not many in the GTA/905 area code or lower mainland!
Avatar JOHN GOLBERG | May 10, 2019
Some things never change. As an orthopaedic specialist leaving training a few years back (1979) I was hoping for a community hospital position almost anywhere in Canada. Unless you had a personal connection (old boys network), there was no way to know what communities had the need and the resources. At the same time, recruiters from south of 49 were calling daily. I did not have the resources to wait; I had an instant job waiting in the U.S...I have no regrets but I am sad that after all the" brain drain" this has not been resolved.
Avatar John LeBlanc | May 10, 2019
As one recently certified otolaryngologist said, “There are very few, if any, jobs in Otolaryngology at the present time. This is despite the fact that we graduate over 30 new otolaryngologists per year. The hospitals and potential employers currently have the upper hand as there are many applicants for few jobs.” Our regional hospital is actively searching for interested qualified candidates to fill at least 2 positions to re-boot what was once a thriving service. Basically a turn-key operation, established patient base, provincial referral centre for cochlear implants, in a hospital undergoing a major expansion and in an area known for its great quality of life; the only drawback (not to us) is that we're not in a major urban center.....
Avatar Scott murray | May 10, 2019
This dialogue is long overdue..........So many elephants in the room !...............Echo and support the comments of Scott Cameron..........
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