1 in 6 new medical specialists say they can’t find work
The beautiful city of Vancouver, B.C. will welcome the world’s dermatology community as it hosts the 23rd World Congress of Dermatology in 2015. The Canadian Dermatology Association is delighted by the announcement that delegates at the 22nd World Congress of Dermatology (WCD) in Seoul voted to see the largest conference of dermatologic specialists come to Canada. Other locations that were in the running to the host the 23rd WCD included Rome, Vienna, Istanbul and Bangalore. “The Vancouver Bid Committee has worked tirelessly over the last three years attending countless dermatology meetings and strengthening international relationships in order to put a face to the Canadian bid,” says Dr Ian Landells, CDA President. The theme for the Vancouver WCD will be A Global Celebration of Dermatology and will mark the first time the conference has ever been held in Canada. To encourage participation from dermatologists around the globe, the Committee established a comprehensive scholarship program targeted at dermatologists and trainees from developing countries who might otherwise be unable to attend. “Vancouver is a dynamic, multicultural city in a spectacular natural environment and we’re honoured our colleagues around the world elected to use it as the setting for the 2015 World Congress of Dermatology,” says Dr Jerry Shapiro, Vancouver Bid Committee President. Canada’s dermatologists and their supporters will be taking time to celebrate this well-earned victory at the WCD Gala in Seoul before returning home to begin planning for the 2015 WCD. About CDA The Canadian Dermatology Association, founded in 1925, represents Canadian dermatologists. The association exists to advance the science and art of medicine and surgery related to the health of the skin, hair and nails; provide continuing professional development for its members; support and advance patient care; provide public education on sun protection and other aspects of skin health; and promote a lifetime of healthy skin, hair and nails. For further information:
Why we have too many medical specialists: Our system’s an uncoordinated mess
The report’s authors said there were three main drivers: Half of respondents in 2012 said they hadn’t received any careercounselling. Dr. Christine Herman is a recently trained cardiac surgeon. She is like about 31 per cent of new specialists who said they chose not to enter the job market but instead pursued more training, which they hoped would make them more employable. Herman said medical schools and the provinces and territories need to do a better job of workforce planning. “I think that the training programs aren’t in sync with the needs that are out there,” Herman said. “Long-term planning, committee planning for job availability is needed.” Steven Lewis, a health policy consultant based in Saskatchewan who was not involved in the study, thinks the situation willworsen. “I think that there is no question that … almost doubling medical school enrolments since the late 1990s combined with easier paths to licensure for international medical grads was the wrong thing to do. We didn’t think it through as a country.” Just under 20 per cent of recently certified specialists said they’d look for work outside of Canada, which could promote a “brain drain” to the U.S., the report’s authors said. Dr. Andrew Padmos, chief executive officer of the Royal College, said more research and consultation needs to be done to understand the challenge.
The reports author is correct in noting that there is no quick fix here. The Royal Colleges plan to convene a meeting early next year to discuss a nationally co-ordinated approach to health system work force planning may be a useful start. It is difficult to imagine the recommendations that might emerge from such a meeting being worse than the current uncoordinated mess. At present, policy decisions, or often the lack thereof, are failing to meet the needs of new trainees or of patients. For example, there are no national (and few provincial) mechanisms in place to channel new graduates into the specialties where they are likely to be most needed rather than into the specialties most needed by teaching hospitals or most favoured by students. And despite the fact that we live in a hyper-active era of tweets and blogs in which the new generation seems to be constantly connected, there is no structured electronic meeting place for job hunters and job seekers. New graduates are somehow failing to figure out where the jobs are (and there are, in fact, plenty of communities desperately seeking specialists). In some cases, at least, the new specialists are simply the victims of the completely predictable fallout from that earlier medical school expansion. When those ministers of health agreed to fund an approximate doubling of medical school places, what did they think would happen when those students started graduating? Was there a plan in place to ensure that the complementary resources that are required for their practices would also be funded and in place? In a word, no. For example, operating room capacity or at least working capacity, meaning an available operating suite plus the funds, supplies and complementary staff to operate it has not kept pace. To make matters worse, the capacity is not used efficiently, and some of those who control that capacity are not all that keen to share with their younger brethren. The consequences in our future many more new physicians looking for practice opportunities each year, than old physicians retiring are as predictable as what we are seeing in the Royal College findings today.