Doctors need more training than ever to get a new post.
But the shortage of positions means it’s a challenge to fill.
A recent survey of medical schools found only 25 per cent of applicants were able to get the postings.
The issue has prompted many to advocate for more training to fill the gap.
Medical school applicants need to have a bachelor’s degree in a specialty such as psychiatry, medicine, pediatrics or neurology to get posts, said Dr. Robert A. Schiller, president of the Association of American Medical Colleges.
The group is working with the U.S. Department of Education and other federal agencies to train medical schools.
“We’ve got to look at training programs,” said Dr, Schiller.
“There’s a huge shortage of training in the United States for doctors.”
The AMA says doctors need to be certified by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS), which is accredited by the Association for College Admission Counseling and Education.
That certification is required to get an appointment.
The AMA said about 20 per cent to 25 per per cent candidates have passed the ABMS exam, which includes a detailed medical history, medical exam, written test, and an interview.
That assessment is the last step before a job offer is made.
The shortage has also hit the U of T medical school.
A year ago, it had more than 7,600 applicants to fill about 700 posts.
The number dropped to 669 last year.
Dr. Bruce A. Young, president and CEO of the University of Toronto Medical School, said it was tough to get students who needed training to get into a position where they would be able to take on more patients.
“If we don’t have that training, I don’t think we’re going to be able, at least not right away, to recruit and retain doctors in our future,” he said.
The U of t’s Dr. Schilling said it’s tough to fill post positions when so many people are graduating in a short time frame.
“It’s hard to keep all of those people.
There are just so many openings that are coming up.”
While some doctors have been applying for jobs at medical schools, they have been turned down or given “strict time” and no offers have come in, he said, adding that he expects it to continue.
The Medical School of Manitoba says it’s aware of the shortage but has seen no changes in the number of applicants for post positions.
It’s also looking into the problem and hopes to have more posts filled soon.
The provincial government says there are plenty of doctors who can work in a medical practice and are willing to train new ones.
“In the medical profession, the most common job is a nurse practitioner, and that is what the majority of people are working in,” said Karen Lachance, a spokeswoman for Health Minister Eric Hoskins.
“The majority of the physicians we’re looking at are in the nursing profession.
The vast majority of doctors are in other health-related fields.”
Dr. Young said a shortage in physicians could mean a shortage of jobs for those who are already working in a practice or for those looking for work.
But he said there is hope for those seeking new positions.
“As long as we’re providing training and getting people through to the end of their careers, we can make sure that we can keep them working in the health care industry,” he added.
The Health Department also says there is a shortage but says there has been a slow recovery.
“Our goal is to have doctors with the right training to keep us competitive in the private and public sectors,” said Health Minister Scott Brison.
“So there’s no reason that we shouldn’t be able and will continue to be competitive in health care.”