April 10, 2010

CANADA: Medical professionals aging fast, shows study

. TORONTO, Ontario / The Toronto Sun / News / April 10, 2010 By QMI Agency Health-care workers, on average, are older and move around more than other workers, according to a new report from the Canadian Institute for Health Information. The report examines census data from 1991 to 2006 and Scott’s Medical Database records from 1986 to 2004 and maps the migration patterns and general statistics of Canada's health-care workers. CIHI estimates 10% of Canadian workers are employed in the health field. “Analysis of the migration of our health human resources is important because, among other things, mobility influences or is a reflection of some of the critical issues of health human resources planning in Canada,” said researcher Roger Pitblado. Health professionals move around less than in the past, but they still move more often than workers in other fields. In 2006, between 12% and 19% of health-care workers moved to a different community within the same province, and between 2% and 7% moved to a different province or territory. Bigger cities tend to draw health workers. The study says most of the migration involved health-care workers moving to urban centres from rural communities, or from one urban centre to another. The most popular provincial destination is Alberta, followed by B.C. and Ontario. “Those who did move to another province did so in higher numbers than the general Canadian population,” said Pitblado. “In fact, most provinces and territories have experienced net losses of health-care workers.” But wherever they go, Canadian health-care workers are getting old. The average age of a health-care worker in Canada is 48. By comparison, the average age of other workers is 41. Between 2001 and 2006, the average age of health-care workers jumped 2.3%, whereas the average age of other workers only rose 1.5%. [rc]