Can’t find a family doctor? It might be because they’re busy doing other specialties, report finds – CBC

Family doctors voting with their feet and turning away from primary care

Mar 26, 2024

If you’re one of the estimated more than six million Canadians who can’t find a family doctor, it might be because they’re focusing on specialty care, the results of a new report suggest.

Nearly 30 per cent of Canada’s family physicians predominantly provide services outside of primary care, according to the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI)’s analysis of 2021 payment data, released Tuesday.

That means they mainly perform services in specific areas, compared to typical primary care duties, like office visits and assessments that don’t require a referral. For example, a family doctor with a general surgery profile would focus on services like minor surgical procedures.

The main non-family medicine areas were emergency medicine (14 per cent), psychiatry (nearly five per cent) and general surgery (two per cent).

“New trends in practice patterns reveal that many newer family physicians are less likely to engage in comprehensive and continuous family practice,” the report’s authors wrote.

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