Addressing Kingston’s Family Physician Shortage
Over the years, I’ve heard from many residents about their struggle to find a family physician in Kingston. Based on recent data, close to 30,000 residents living in Kingston either don’t have a family doctor, or they travel outside of Kingston to find one. This is a big issue for our community, and in order to solve it, we first need to understand why there is such a significant shortage. A study conducted in partnership with the Kingston Area Health Care Taskforce and the Kingston Community Health Centre helped to shed some light on what’s going on.
The study surveyed over 300 Kingston physicians and found that less than half of them are currently practicing as family doctors. The majority are involved with other work like teaching, research and specialized fields of medicine. As for the physicians that are practicing family medicine, the study found that as many as 44,000 of their patients come from outside of Kingston. In other words, a shortage of family doctors in the larger region means that residents from other communities are looking for family doctors in Kingston, contributing to the overall shortage we see today. We need a regional approach to solving what is clearly a regional problem. That’s why, as a next step, we’re going to work with surrounding communities to advocate for the changes we need to bring more family physicians to Kingston and the surrounding area.