Updated Inventory and Projected Requirements for Specialist Physicians in Geriatrics
The predicted growth of Canadians aged 65+ and the resultant rise in the demand for specialized geriatric services (SGS) requires physician resource planning. We updated the 2011 Canadian Geriatrics Society physician resource inventory and created projections for 2025 and 2030.
The number and full-time equivalents (FTEs) of geriatricians and Care of the Elderly (COE) physicians working in SGS were determined. FTE counts for 2025 and 2030 were estimated by accounting for retirements and trainees. A ratio of 1.25/10,000 population 65+ was used to predict physician resource requirements.
Between 2011 and 2019 the number of geriatricians and COE physicians increased from 276 (235.8 FTEs) and 128 (89.9 FTEs), respectively, to 376 (319.6 FTEs) and 354 (115.5 FTEs). This increase did not keep pace with the 65+ population growth. The current gap between supply and need is expected to increase.
The physician supply gap is projected to widen in 2025 and 2030. Increased recruitment and interdisciplinary team-based care, supported by enhanced funding models, and full integration of COE physicians in SGS could reduce this increasing gap. In contrast to pediatrician supply in Canada, the specialist physician resources available to the population 65+ reflect a disparity.
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