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A demand-based assessment of the Canadian anesthesia workforce — 2002 through 2007

Évaluation des effectifs canadiens en anesthésie fondée sur la demande — de 2002 à 2007

Abstract

Purpose

The number of anesthesia providers required by the Canadian health care system remains controversial. Questions persist regarding both the adequacy of the current supply and what the future demand will be. The purpose of this study was to quantify the number and adequacy of anesthesia providers in 2002, and predict the same for the year 2007.

Methods

All licensed health care facilities potentially employing anesthetic services were identified. On February 1st, 2002 a questionnaire was mailed to each institution. On April 1st, a second mailing was sent to non-responders. Those facilities that did not respond to either mailing were contacted by telephone.

Results

Responses were obtained from 831 of 891 (93%) health care facilities. Four hundred and twenty-six of the facilities employed anesthetic services. There were 1,610 operating rooms (ORs) in use daily and 2,134 full-time equivalent (FTE) anesthesia providers were available to the institutions surveyed. Respondents identified an immediate need for 228 additional FTEs. Hospitals with less than five ORs or five FTEs reported higher vacancy rates than hospitals with greaterthan five ORs orfive FTEs (P < 0.0001). Ontario (n = 85) and Quebec (n = 69) had the largest absolute deficits of FTEs and significantly greater odds of vacancies than western provinces (Ontario OR = 1.84, Quebec OR = 2.50). The projected need for 2007 was an additional 560 FTEs.

Conclusion

This is the first study to survey a national census of “consumers” of anesthetic services: Canadian health care facilities. The results indicate substantial current and worsening future shortages of anesthesia providers in Canada.

Résumé

Objectif

Le nombre de prestateurs d’anesthésie réclamé par le système de soins de santé du Canada demeure controversé. Des questions subsistent sur le nombre suffisant des effectifs actuels et la demande dans l’avenir. Nous avons voulu quantifier le nombre et la capacité des prestateurs d’anesthésie en 2002 et prédire ces mêmes données pour 2007.

Méthode

Tous les établissements de santé autorisés à offrir des services anesthésiques ont été recensés. Le premier février 2002, un questionnaire a été posté à chaque institution. Le premier avril, un second envoi a été fait aux non-répondants. Ceux qui n’ont répondu à aucun questionnaire ont été joints par téléphone.

Résultats

Nous avons obtenu des réponses de 831 sur 891 (93%) établissements de santé. Des services d’anesthésie étaient offerts dans 426 centres. Il y avait 1 610 salles d’opération (SO) utilisées chaque jour et l’équivalent à temps plein (ETP) de 2 134 prestateurs d’anesthésie disponibles pour les institutions sondées. Les répondants ont déterminé un besoin immédiat de 228 ETP supplémentaires. Les hôpitaux de moins de cinq SO ou cinq ETP avaient des taux plus élevés d’inoccupation que les hôpitaux de plus de cinq SO ou cinq ETP (P < 0,0001). L’Ontario (n = 85) et le Québec (n = 69) avaient les déficits absolus les plus importants d’ETP et des risques d’inoccupation plus signifcativement élevés que les provinces de l’Ouest (Ontario SO = 1,84, Québec SO = 2,50). Les besoins projetés pour 2007 étaient l’ETP supplémentaire de 560.

Conclusion

C’est le premier recensement national des «consommateurs» de services d’anesthésie: les établissements de santé du Canada. Il indique des pénuries actuelles substantielles de prestateurs d’anesthésie au Canada qui vont s’aggraver dans l’avenir.

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Author information

Correspondence to Gordon H. Morewood.

Additional information

Support: Material and financial support for this project was provided solely by the Department of Anesthesiology at Queen’s University.

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Engen, D.A., Morewood, G.H., Ghazar, N.J. et al. A demand-based assessment of the Canadian anesthesia workforce — 2002 through 2007. Can J Anesth 52, 18 (2005). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF03018575

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Keywords

  • Nous Avons
  • Vacancy Rate
  • Direct Patient Care
  • Anesthesia Provider
  • Canadian Health Care System