Patients having trouble finding doctors haven’t seen anything yet, suggests a study by B.C. researchers
Published on: December 10, 2017 | Last Updated: December 11, 2017 4:32 PM PST
Patients having trouble finding doctors — or waiting too long to see specialists and get treatment — haven’t seen anything yet, suggests a study by B.C. researchers that was published Monday.
That’s because about 40 per cent of B.C. doctors are at — or near — the average age that doctors retire, 65.1. And to exacerbate things, the study in the Canadian Medical Association Journal shows that 40 per cent of doctors reduce their workload at least 10 per cent in the three years before they retire.
The problem is particularly acute for patients preferring female doctors or living in rural areas. Female physicians tend to retire four years before male doctors, and on average, rural doctors retire just over two years earlier.
It is hypothesized that rural doctors may retire earlier because of burnout or because of lower cost of living but regardless, “early retirement in these communities is of particular concern, given that many rural areas are known to have substantial difficulties recruiting and retaining physicians,” says the team of authors from the University of B.C., Simon Fraser University and the Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute.