Background: The Canadian Neurological Society commissioned a manpower survey in 2012 to assess Canadian neurological manpower and resources.
Surveys were sent electronically to all Canadian neurologists with available email addresses. Responses were analysed for effects of physician gender, age, geographic location (eastern or western Canada) or type of practice (academic, community). Questions focused on work patterns, neurologic conditions treated, access to or performance of procedures, and service and manpower issues.
A total of 694 of 854 neurologists in Canada were surveyed and 219 (32%) responded. Respondents were 70% male with mean age of 50 years. Neurologists worked an average of 57 hours/week and saw a mean of 40 patients per week. There were significant differences in number of patients seen, types of practice, and areas of neurological specialization between community and academic neurologists. Fifty percent of neurologists report shortages of neurologists in their community, particularly of general adult neurologists. Wait times for neurological services exceeded international standards for consultations and also were longer than Canadian averages for other specialists. More community (18%) than academic (5%) neurologists planned to retire within the next 5 years.
The demand for neurological services continues to outstrip resources despite the increased number of neurologists. Impending retirement of community neurologists will exacerbate manpower issues unless adequate numbers of trainees choose general neurologic practice in the community as a career.