While physicians are not the only professional group involved in primary care and nurse practitioners are increasing at the community level, it is important to have enough physicians and specialists in Niagara to provide care. According to the Niagara Health System (NHS) Report (2005) there were 560 physicians with admission privileges in Niagara and according to the LIHN report there were 502 physicians in Niagara in 2007 (278 physicians; 224 specialists). The number of physicians in Niagara is below those needed for our population. Niagara is identified as having 94 family physician vacancies as required by the Underserviced Area Program (UAP) of the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care.
Figure 21 Comparison of number of Physician/Specialists per CMA 2007
The Ontario Medical Association and Metroland West Media Group (2007), claim that one million adults and 130,000 children do not have a family doctor in Ontario. One in 10 physicians is taking new patients and 64% have no one to take their practice if they retire. About 200,000 patients without a doctor live in the Milton-Niagara Region covered by the Metroland study. Ontario ranks 8th in Canada in terms of doctors per 100,000 population, according to the OMA. http://www.healthiercare.ca/doctors.html
In 2004, Ontario had 86 physicians per 100,000 and our LHIN had 75 per 100,000 Source: Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Brant LHIN Community Profile, 2006