Friday, January 11, 2008

Canada "immediately" needs 26,000 doctors

R. Bobak wrote in "Re: Ontario is Losing The Battle For Doctors, Janice Willett, Nov.15", (National Post, Jan.10, 2008):

"The Post states that "approximately 1.5 million Canadians cannot find a family physician." Yet, the Ontario Medical Association's Janice Willett claimed in your paper back in November, 2007, that "Ontario is currently short 2,000 doctors, a shortfall that impacts one million adults and 130,000 children." Has the doctor shortage vastly improved in the last two months, or is one of these figures off?"

Given the above figures, and given that Ontario's population is approx. 13 million (within Canada' s total of about 32 million) then it would mean that in the rest of Canada (outside of Ontario) with a remaining population of about 19 million, only 370,000 people don't have a doctor. Does anyone get these figures? Is this an apples/oranges question, where I'm counting grapes, or what?

What's needed would be the per-capita ratio of existing doctors to existing population, for each province. Then, by province, we'd know how many doctors per-capita are still needed; that is, assuming that all provinces even have the same requirements!

The St. Catharines Standard, Jan.9, 2008, reported: "To bring Canada's medical workforce even up to minimum standards set up by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the country would need to immediately add 26,000 doctors, [CMA president Brian] Day said from Vancouver."

We're short a minimum of 26,000 doctors?? Does this include other medical staff, or is this strictly just MDs??

Again, if Ontario (13 million people) is short 2,000 doctors (according to Willett above), then the rest of Canada (19 million people) must then be short 24,000 doctors! These comparative ratios don't make sense.

The St Catharines Standard (Jan.9, 2007) also wrote "An estimated four to five million Canadians do not have a family doctor."

In this case, if in Ontario (per Willett) 1.13 million (out of 13 million) don't have a doctor, then in the rest of Canada [based on 4.5 million national shortage, a compromise of Day's 4 to 5] it would mean that 3.87 million people (out of 19 million) don't have a doctor.

But these figures show a large gap in that 8.7% of 13 million Ontarians have no doctor; while 20.4% of 19 million in the rest of Canada have no doctor.

What's missing here?

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