More than 170K Ontario patients lost family doctors in first 6 months of pandemic, study finds

From the CTV Toronto article

More than 170,000 patients in Ontario lost their family doctors in the first six months of the COVID-19 pandemic, a new study has found.

The study, led by Unity Health Toronto and non-profit research institute ICES, found the number of family physicians who stopped working doubled between March and September 2020 compared to the same time period the previous year.

This equals nearly three per cent of Ontario’s practicing family physicians, officials said.

On average, between April and September from 2010 through to 2019, researchers say about 1.6 per cent of family physicians stopped work.

“Nearly 1.8 million Ontarians don’t have a regular family physician,” Dr. Tara Kiran, lead author of the study and a family physician at St. Michael’s Hospital of Unity Health Toronto, said in a statement.

“Our findings suggest things are only going to get worse, which is really concerning because family medicine is the front door to our health system.”

The study found that about 385 of 12,000 physicians stopped their practice, and that those who did were more likely to be aged 75 or older and care for under 500 patients.

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