Sudbury hospital at capacity for some specialists

Doctors wanting to work in the Sudbury region may soon find their prospects dimming.

Doctors wanting to work in the Sudbury region may soon find their prospects dimming.

A new report from the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons shows that one in six specialist doctors in Canada can't find work, and that many aren't able to find a job in their preferred city.

"We're at a maximum of neurosurgeons. We couldn't recruit another neurosurgeon unless one retired or semi-retired or decided to relocate,” said Chris Bourdon, vice-president of Medical and Academic Affairs at Health Sciences North, who has been involved in recruitment efforts to bring new doctors to northern Ontario.

Hospitals can only recruit a certain number of doctors, based on space and funding. In Sudbury, the number of neurosurgeons, orthopedic and plastic surgeons — and many other specialities are almost at capacity.

He said the initiative has maybe gone a little too well.

Bourdon added the same goes for orthopedic and plastic surgeons — and many other specialties are almost at capacity.

At some point, Sudbury won't have room for many local specialist graduates who want to stay in the Sudbury region, Bourdon warned.

But just because doctors can't get jobs, it doesn't mean we're getting enough medical care, the dean of the Northern Ontario School of Medicine said.

"I think if you look at the big picture, we really could do with more specialists in every specialty,” Dr. Roger Strasser said.

“However, the hospitals don't have the capacity to support those specialists."

According to Strasser, it's not that we have too many doctors. It's just that we don't have enough space or money. 

"There are certain groups of providers where there's a cap … on the number of physicians of that type that we can accommodate here, based on the resources that are available in this size of hospital,” Bourdon said.

The city of Sudbury has hired 22 new doctors this year.


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