OTTAWA, August 14, 2013 /Canada NewsWire/ - According to new research conducted by the Canadian Association of Internes and Residents (CAIR), Canada needs a better way to anticipate the supply and demand of physicians if we are to meet patient needs in the future. Reliable data and better coordination between patient needs and residency training positions would also help residents with career decisions, ultimately resulting in better patient care.
"A National Health Human Resources (HHR) plan is critical to ensuring that the health care system can meet future needs of Canadians", said Dr. Jesse Pasternak, Chair of CAIR's HHR Committee. "Taxpayers invest heavily in the training of new physicians. It makes sense to train and place new physicians where we know there is patient need and where gaps in care exist."
In the Spring of 2013, CAIR's HHR Committee launched a comprehensive study of the state of physician health human resources which included an analysis of international expert consultations, the 2013 CAIR national resident survey and the current experience, and observations and ideas of CAIR members.
CAIR's findings make the case that everyone involved in providing health care, including provincial and federal governments, should collect, share and communicate information effectively, to better align the training, skills and placement of physicians with the health care needs of Canadians. CAIR is concerned that current HHR training and placement practices have fallen short, creating gaps in care and frustrating both patients and physicians.
Based on the findings of its work, the CAIR Committee adopted six Principles that would bring about a more effective way of coordinating physician health human resources across the country.
...Effective, evidence-based workforce planning for Canadian patients and physicians
...Allocation of residency training positions that aligns with population needs and job availability, particularly in specialty areas
...Improvements to the work environment in rural areas to attract and retain new physicians in local communities
...Career counseling throughout medical training
...Promotion of a culture of social accountability in medical training
For a more detailed copy of CAIR's Principles click here.
"CAIR has taken a lead role in championing this important issue with a view to bringing about much needed change", said Dr. Pasternak. "We've connected with residents from a variety of specialties and schools and we will continue to look for best ways to plan for future patient needs".
CAIR is the national body representing more than 8,000 Resident Physicians. Residents bring fresh ideas to the health care system, based on their current training and front line experience. In most major hospitals, a resident is the first physician a patient encounters when seeking care and often the last face the patient sees on discharge