A new study found nearly 20 per cent of family doctors in Toronto are considering closing their practices in the next five years.
“I’ve looked, it’s almost impossible to get one,” Storm Sorichetti said as she held her 5-year-old daughter Isaballa.
Sorichetti and her daughter are among the 1.8 million Ontarians without a doctor and using walk-in clinics instead.
“It’s very frustrating,” she says. Adding, “you can never get a full record of either my daughter or myself.”
A recent study published in the journal ‘Canadian Family Physician’ based on a survey of family doctors from 2021 says, “17.5% (of the respondents) were planning to close their existing practices within the next 5 years.”
“Policy makers need to prepare for a growing family physician shortage and better understand factors that support recruitment and retention,” Dr. Tara Kiran, a family doctor and the lead author of the study, said.
“I think we definitely are losing family doctors who are practicing in that traditional cradle to grave office based family practice,” she said.
The most likely to leave were older male doctors, who run a family practice on their own. With many retiring early, and fewer new graduates choosing to take their place.
Kiran says, “If you choose to retire even two or five years earlier than you would, that can actually at a large scale have an impact on the healthcare workforce and as a result an impact on the population who really need family doctors.”
This study did not look into why doctors may choose to close their practice, but another survey done by the Ontario Medical Association suggests that strain brought on by the pandemic may be a contributing factor.