Doctor retention a major concern highlighted in latest Doctors Manitoba report

Doctors Manitoba wants the province to work on retaining physicians currently working in Manitoba.

A new report from Doctors Manitoba shows 46 per cent of doctors currently working in the province are thinking about relocating, retiring or reducing their hours over the next three years.

“We are at risk of losing almost 700 doctors to retirement or relocation. That is a big chunk of physician shortage,” said Dr. Randy Guzman, the president of Doctors Manitoba

The province has committed to adding 100 more doctors this year. There are currently 215 doctors per capita. However, the report said Manitoba would need to add 445 more doctors to reach the Canadian average.

“Premier (Wab) Kinew and Health Minister (Uzoma) Asagwara have hit the nail on the head when they say a change in culture is needed in health care,” Guzman said.

Retention concerns can be linked to burnout, not feeling valued, administrative burden and lack of engagement in the health-care system.

The report found 46 per cent of physicians say they are burnt out, while another 54 per cent say they are distressed.

“While these numbers are concerning, they do help us understand what has to change. It starts as engaging physicians as partners and involving them in fixing the challenges in the health-care system.”

There are some positives from the report according to Doctors Manitoba, including a slight decrease in doctors who are brunt out and distressed, fewer physicians said they were planning to leave compared to previous reports and there were “modest improvements” in feeling valued and satisfaction with professional life.

“The trend is consistent, at least in the burnout and the satisfaction of professional life. So I think there is some signs that there is improvement, but we still have a long way to go,” said Guzman.

In an emailed statement from Asagwara, they said help is on the way.

“The premier and I have been listening to frontline health-care workers on our listening tour, which started almost immediately after we were sworn in. The feedback we’ve gathered during this tour has been invaluable and has given some insight into just how bad things got under the previous government. It has also given us solutions to fix some of the things ailing our health-care system,” the statement reads.

Asagwara noted the province is working with Doctors Manitoba on retention by reducing the administrative burden and supporting “early career physicians.”

“When it comes to training and recruitment, we have increased residency spots by 38 per cent to train more doctors, restored the Rural Doctor Recruitment Fund and opened a new office focused on recruitment and retention in the health-care system.”

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