Sorry We’re Out of Surgeons! – Part 1 of 2


Here’s a great blog post from Jean Nehme our co-founder:

A looming healthcare crisis faces America. With an expanding ageing population and growing number of insured patients, there is a rising demand for physicians. However, this is currently not being met with an appropriate supply through residency programs. The American Medical Colleges’ (AMC) Centre for Workforce Studies estimates that the US will face a shortage of 46,000 surgeons. This is particularly in true in surgical specialties such as General Surgery, Urology and Thoracic Surgery (1).

The American College of Surgeons (ACS) Health Policy Research Institute (HPRI) revealed some startling statistics in its report Surgical Deserts in the US: Places without Surgeons. In 2006, 30 % of the 3,107 U.S counties, with a total population of 9.5 million Americans, lacked a single surgeon (2). In 2012 the HPRI released an updated version of the US Atlas of the Surgery Workforce, an interactive web-based system. This displays surgeon numbers and relative population data (www.acshpri.org/atlas/).

The decline of surgeons is present both in rural and urban areas. However, in rural areas the proportion of surgeons to patients is significantly lower than non-rural areas.

There are multiple reasons for the reduction of the surgical workforce. The long-term outlook for the future of surgery contributes to the difficulty of recruiting surgeons. The post-graduate residency programs have not yet expanded proportionally to increase the number of residency places. Furthermore, established surgeons are now retiring and reducing their workload.

The implications of this are critical and medical schools as well as training institutions need to respond appropriately.
References:

(1) Association of American for Workforce Studies. Physician shortages to worsen without increases in residency training (www.aamc.org)
(2) www.acshpri.org