New Report Reveals Both Concerning and Promising Trends

As part of its continued work to help address Manitoba’s record physician shortage, Doctors Manitoba released a report today that focuses on retaining more of the physicians currently working in Manitoba, with the aim of reducing early retirements and relocation to other jurisdictions. 

We support the government’s ambitious plan to add 100 more doctors to Manitoba this year through both recruitment and retention,” said Doctors Manitoba President Dr. Randy Guzman. However, every day that passes without concrete improvements in place is another day of missed new recruits and seeing existing doctors move away.”

The report finds that:

  • 46% of existing doctors are considering relocating to another province, retiring, or reducing their hours in the next three years.
  • Manitoba is at risk of losing 21%, or 688 physicians, in the next three years to relocation or retirement.
  • In three quarters (74%) of cases, plans to retire, relocate, or reduce hours are related to systemic or institutional issues that could be addressed.

The main risks to retaining physicians include issues like burnout, not feeling valued, administrative burden, and not being engaged by the health care system. Of note:

  • 46% of physicians are experiencing burnout, and 54% are experiencing distress.
  • 18% to 26% of physicians feel valued by the provincial government, Shared Health, and/​or their Regional Health Authority.
  • 31% of physicians describe their workplace culture as generally positive.
  • Only 19% of physicians describe the health system as responsive to physician concerns. 

The best way to prevent losing physicians in Manitoba is by improving how the system engages and supports us,” explained Dr. Guzman. It is very concerning to see two thirds or more of physicians saying the health system isn’t keeping them up to date, isn’t seeking their input, and isn’t responsive to their concerns. We have recommendations to address these issues that very much support the government’s promise to change the culture in health care and prioritize front line feedback.” 

Dr. Guzman noted the report shows improvements in key areas, including: 

  • Modest decreases in the number of physicians experiencing burnout and distress, and in those planning to leave or reduce their practice.
  • Modest improvements in the number of physicians feeling valued by the government and health system, as well as the number satisfied with their professional life. 

While the numbers are still very concerning when it comes to our physician shortage, our findings suggest Manitoba may be turning the corner as we see early signs of improvement that could help with recruitment and retention,” added Dr. Guzman. 

Manitoba has 215 physicians per capita, and it would take 445 more doctors to reach the Canadian average, according to the Canadian Institute for Health Information. 

Click here to access Physician Resources in Manitoba: Focus on Retaining Doctors.