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In 2013, a task force was developed to discuss the future of the Canadian pediatric neurology workforce. The consensus was that there was no indication to reduce the number of training positions, but that the issue required continued surveillance. The current study provides a 5-year update on Canadian pediatric neurology workforce data.
Names, practice types, number of weekly outpatient clinics, and dates of certification of all physicians currently practicing pediatric neurology in Canada were obtained. International data were used to compute comparisons between countries. National data sets were used to provide information about the number of residency positions available and the number of Canadian graduates per year. Models for future projections were developed based on published projected population data and trends from the past decade.
The number of pediatric neurologists practicing in Canada has increased 165% since 1994. During this period, wait times have not significantly shortened. There are regional discrepancies in access to child neurologists. The Canadian pediatric neurology workforce available to see outpatient consultations is proportionally less than that of USA. After accounting for retirements and emigrations, the number of child neurologists being added to the workforce each year is 4.9. This will result in an expected 10-year increase in Canadian pediatric neurologists from 151 to 200.
Despite an increase in the number of Canadian child neurologists over the last two decades, we do not predict that there will be problems with underemployment over the next decade.
Background: Little knowledge exists on the availability of academic and community paediatric neurology positions. This knowledge is crucial for making workforce decisions. Our study aimed to: 1) obtain information regarding the availability of positions for paediatric neurologists in academic centres; 2) survey paediatric neurology trainees regarding their perceptions of employment issues and career plans; 3) survey practicing community paediatric neurologists 4) convene a group of paediatric neurologists to develop consensus regarding how to address these workforce issues. Methods: Surveys addressing workforce issues regarding paediatric neurology in Canada were sent to: 1) all paediatric neurology program directors in Canada (n=9) who then solicited information from division heads and from paediatric neurologists in surrounding areas; 2) paediatric neurology trainees in Canada (n=57) and; 3) community paediatric neurologists (n=27). A meeting was held with relevant stakeholders to develop a consensus on how to approach employment issues. Results: The response rate was 100% from program directors, 57.9% from residents and 44% from community paediatric neurologists. We found that the number of projected positions in academic paediatric neurology is fewer than the number of paediatric neurologists that are being trained over the next five to ten years, despite a clinical need for paediatric neurologists. Paediatric neurology residents are concerned about job availability and desire more career counselling. Conclusions: There is a current and projected clinical demand for paediatric neurologists despite a lack of academic positions. Training programs should focus on community neurology as a viable career option.
Patient registries represent an important method of organizing “real world” patient information for clinical and research purposes. Registries can facilitate clinical trial planning and recruitment and are particularly useful in this regard for uncommon and rare diseases. Neuromuscular diseases (NMDs) are individually rare but in aggregate have a significant prevalence. In Canada, information on NMDs is lacking. Barriers to performing Canadian multicentre NMD research exist which can be overcome by a comprehensive and collaborative NMD registry.
We describe the objectives, design, feasibility and initial recruitment results for the Canadian Neuromuscular Disease Registry (CNDR).
The CNDR is a clinic-based registry which launched nationally in June 2011, incorporates paediatric and adult neuromuscular clinics in British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia and, as of December 2012, has recruited 1161 patients from 12 provinces and territories. Complete medical datasets have been captured on 460 “index disease” patients. Another 618 “non-index” patients have been recruited with capture of physician-confirmed diagnosis and contact information. We have demonstrated the feasibility of blended clinic and central office-based recruitment. “Index disease” patients recruited at the time of writing include 253 with Duchenne and Becker muscular dystrophy, 161 with myotonic dystrophy, and 71 with ALS.
The CNDR is a new nationwide registry of patients with NMDs that represents an important advance in Canadian neuromuscular disease research capacity. It provides an innovative platform for organizing patient information to facilitate clinical research and to expedite translation of recent laboratory findings into human studies.
Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is the most common form of muscular dystrophy in childhood.
To assess the current care of paediatric DMD patients in Canada, a questionnaire was mailed to 17 physicians who were members of the Canadian paediatric neuromuscular group. Areas of enquiry included; 1) multidisciplinary team composition; 2) means of DMD diagnosis; 3) corticosteroid use; surveillance and management for: 4) orthopaedic, 5) respiratory and 6) cardiac complications and 7) health maintenance (nutrition & immunizations).
Completed surveys were returned by 14/17 (82%) of physicians. Twelve respondents followed DMD patients. All centres had multidisciplinary teams, including respirology (11/12), child neurology or physiatry (11), physiotherapy (9), occupational therapy (9) and orthopaedic surgery (7). Deflazacort 0.9mg/kg/d was used at all centres, which was continued after loss of independent ambulation (11), along with routine calcium and vitamin D supplementation (10). Night splints were prescribed at all centres. Routine surveillance studies included pulmonary function testing (11), sleep studies (10), EKG/echocardiogram (10), bone density (DEXA) scans (10), spine radiography (9), and dietician referral (4).
Paediatric DMD patients are receiving relatively consistent care in multidisciplinary clinics across Canada, in accordance with recommended guidelines for DMD.
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