CAGS’ President-elect Secundus, Dr. Paola Fata (Montreal, QC) represented CAGS and the specialty of General Surgery at the Health Human Resource Meeting held at the Royal College on June 2nd. CAGS was one of many specialty societies that came together to discuss employment and workforce planning issues within the healthcare sector. The Royal College, National Specialty Societies and others want to work together to improve our understanding of the role of specialty medicine in Canada. Within CAGS and our partner Specialty Societies new studies are being developed to better understand the health workforce and how it responds to patient needs.
Presentations around data analysis and collection were shared from CAPER (Canadian Post-MD Education Registry) around the specialty trends in Canadian postgraduate medical education and of particular interest we heard from CIHI and their interesting statistical approach to profile practice patterns for physicians. In short, CIHI reorganized the National Grouping System (NGS) categories into homogenous groups called practice areas and measured participation within each area. Scope of Practice relates to daily clinical activities that describe the health care being delivered. CIHI followed a basic assumption: physicians within a given specialty represent a group of like-behaving individuals the majority of who practise in similar ways.
Participation patterns define unique practice patterns for each physician. Billing data was used to define the main areas of practice for each specialty. The resulting “pie chart” representation of practice is used to determine if each specialty has a typical practice pattern. This information was compelling and could be extremely useful to determine practice patterns in urban versus rural settings for General Surgeons.
Geriatrics, Rheumatology and Emergency Physicians also presented their specialty-specific labour and training situations who are very short in supply which contrasts from the current over-supply of General Surgeons. CAGS is working closely with the Royal College and CIHI to better understand environmental trends in employment and how to appropriately train people to fill surgical vacancies that exist in all regions of Canada; understanding that practice needs vary in different areas of Canada in particular in rural versus urban settings.
Employment for General Surgeons and the future of General Surgery remain top priorities for CAGS. If you would like to volunteer help tackle this important issue, please email CAGS at: CAGS@cags-accg.ca.