With Ontario’s health-care system already in crisis, a new study suggests that nearly 20 per cent of family doctors in Toronto will be closing their practices in the next five years.
The research is a major concern for some in the health-care field as it suggests the current problems people have finding a family doctor will only get worse.
“I’m really worried,” said Dr. Tara Kiran, the lead author of the study, which was led by St. Michael’s Hospital along with Unity Health Toronto and published in the journal Canadian Family Physician.
“There are already 1.8 million people in Ontario who don’t have a family doctor. To me, it’s a wake-up call that we really need to work hard to address this issue,” Kiran said.
More than 1,000 family physicians were surveyed in January 2021. A total of 439 respondents answered questions about their future plans, with 77 doctors — or 17.5 per cent — responding that they plan to close their practice within the next five years.
Nearly four per cent of physicians in that group said they plan to close in the next 12 months.
The study found that the doctors who are planning to leave tend to be older, so demographic retirement trends are a factor. But the research also found that many physicians who say they’re on the way out run their own private practices.