The number of doctors across the country has been steadily increasing, according to the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI). A report released by CIHI in late September states that while numbers are up across the country, Alberta and Saskatchewan are near the top of the pack, with each experiencing a 20 per cent in the last five years.
“Over the last 8 years, the physician workforce has grown rapidly, similar to the high growth rates we saw through most of the 1980s,” says Geoff Ballinger, CIHI’s manager of Physician Information, adding that medical school enrolment trends across Canada suggest that this is likely to continue for the next few years.
While the number of physicians in Alberta is rising, ensuring physicians are distributed to areas of need remains a challenge. As the RPAP | Health Workforce for Alberta Landscape of Rural Health (Specialty: Family Medicine) dashboard illustrates, the “where” of the increase is just as (if not more) important than the “how much”.
For example, the number of Family Medicine physicians per 100,000 inhabitants in the rural Alberta districts is less than 60 per cent of the number practising in the Calgary and Edmonton districts. Moreover, the increase in the number of Family Medicine physicians as a proportion of the count five years ago differs greatly from district to district. While the number of family physicians has increased by 41 per cent in Calgary and 25 per cent in Edmonton, rural areas have experienced only a 16 per cent increase during the same period.
To ensure an effective and efficient health system, we need to attract and retain physicians specifically to the areas where the need is highest.
We encourage you to explore all of our Landscape of Rural Health dashboards within the context of your district.
If you have questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
To view the full CIHI report, click here: https://www.cihi.ca/en/spending-and-health-workforce/health-workforce/more-doctors-higher-spending