The COVID-19 pandemic has undeniably impacted our healthcare system in many ways. One of the most significant impacts has been staffing shortages among Canadian healthcare workers.
Since the start of the pandemic there has been a substantial rise in shortages of healthcare workers across Canada. To what extent does this shortage affect physicians and their practice? How severe has the staffing shortage been in the past year? What type of support do physicians seek in order to reduce the workloads in their practice? To answer these questions MD Analytics surveyed 50 family medicine physicians and 90 specialists on the topic of healthcare staffing shortages across Canada, post pandemic.
An overwhelming proportion of physicians, more than 80%, report that their practice has been impacted by a shortage of staff. While the shortage of healthcare workers has been an issue within the healthcare space for some time now, it has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 crisis. Almost all physicians mention that the situation has gotten even worse in the past 12 months. Notably, two thirds of GPs and three quarters of specialists mention that it has gotten significantly worse compared to pre-pandemic conditions.
What impact has staffing shortages had on patients? Physicians agree that the labour shortage has impacted their ability to provide optimal patient care. In fact, most Canadian physicians reported that the labour shortage has been somewhat to strongly impactful on patient care. Meanwhile, the impact was even more noticeable among GPs. Moreover, many physicians feel that the government’s response to this situation has been lacking and that there is much more that could have been done to help mitigate the issue.
It is clear that healthcare staffing shortages is a deep-rooted issue that will continue to put a strain on physicians and patients alike. While there is no quick fix for this situation, there are steps that can be taken to help alleviate the stress on the healthcare system. In this respect we asked physicians how Canadian pharmaceutical manufacturers could provide support. Many physicians indicated there were opportunities to help in terms of patient education and reduced administrative burden for medication access and reimbursement.
- Extent to which physicians experienced staff shortages in the last year and how this compares to pre-pandemic conditions
- Assess the role pharmaceutical companies can play in helping alleviate HCP workloads