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The Canadian Plastic Surgery Workforce Survey: Interpretation and Implications

Macadam, Sheina A. M.D.; Kennedy, Steven M.D., M.Sc.; Lalonde, Don M.D.; Anzarut, Alex M.D., M.Sc.; Clarke, Howard M. M.D., Ph.D.; Brown, Erin E. M.D., Ph.D.

Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery: June 2007 - Volume 119 - Issue 7 - pp 2299-2306
doi: 10.1097/01.prs.0000261039.86003.f0
Special Topic

Background: Few studies have monitored physician supply in Canada, and no studies have specifically examined the Canadian plastic surgery workforce.

Methods: In this study, data were gathered by three methods. A survey was distributed to all members of the Canadian Society of Plastic Surgeons in October of 2004. Opinions on the availability of plastic surgery services were solicited. A second survey that focused on demographics and workload was distributed in December of 2004. Finally, the locations of all Canadian trainees graduating between 1995 and 2005 were reviewed.

Results: The response rate to the first survey was 42 percent. Seventy-eight percent of respondents felt that there was a shortage of plastic surgeons in their community. The response rate to the second survey was 40 percent. Twenty-eight percent of respondents were within 5 years of retirement and 3.2 percent stated that they planned to emigrate by 2010. The mean waiting time for an elective consultation was 32 ± 33 weeks. Review of all 179 plastic surgery graduates over the past 10 years revealed that 23 percent now practice outside of Canada.

Conclusions: When these results are projected to the total workforce, they indicate that there will be a future shortage of plastic surgeons in Canada. To prevent a further deficit, there is a need to increase the number of plastic surgery trainees in Canada, to offer incentives for graduates to stay in Canada, and to possibly recruit more foreign-trained plastic surgeons to practice within Canada.

Vancouver, British Columbia; Saint John, New Brunswick; Edmonton, Alberta; and Toronto, Ontario, Canada

From the Department of Surgery, Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, and Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia; Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Dalhousie University; Department of Surgery, Divisions of Plastic Surgery and Public Health Sciences and Epidemiology Coordinating Center, University of Alberta; and Department of Surgery, Division of Plastic Surgery, University of Toronto.

Received for publication June 29, 2006; accepted October 16, 2006.

Presented at the 59th Annual Meeting of the Canadian Society of Plastic Surgeons, in Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada, June 8 through 11, 2005, and awarded the F. M. Woolhouse Award for best clinical study presented by a resident.

Sheina A. Macadam, M.D., Division of Plastic Surgery and Burn Unit, University of British Columbia, Vancouver General Hospital, 2nd Floor, JPP 2, 855 West 12th Avenue, Vancouver, British Columbia V5Z 1M9, Canada, sheinam@shaw.ca

©2007American Society of Plastic Surgeons