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Media opportunity: Canada has more family physicians per person than ever before, but increasingly complex patient care is making it harder to access primary care: Dalhousie University study
Accessing primary care is a challenge across the country, despite research that shows there are more family physicians per person in Canada than ever before.
Researchers looking at health system data found that may be because primary care patients are being treated for more chronic conditions and receive more care that requires co-ordination by family physicians.
People experience fewer hospitalizations and fewer days in hospital, but day surgeries and other community-based services requiring the involvement of family doctors have increased. While the number of FPs per-capita has grown from 9.5 to 11.1 per 10,000 people, the number in community-based practice has only grown from 8.9 to 9.2 per 10,000 and the number of patient visits per physician has declined.
Ruth Lavergne, a Tier II Canada Research Chair in Primary Care in Dalhousie University's Department of Family Medicine, led the research initiative that also found that more family doctors are working outside of traditional community settings, meaning that their work per visit is likely increasing considerably over time.
Dr. Lavergne is available to discuss the findings outlined in a new paper that suggests improving the efficiency of co-ordinating patient needs may expand the availability of community-based primary care.
Senior Research Reporter
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