Canadian Anesthesia Physician Resources: 1996 and beyond

  • Neil Donen
  • Frank King
  • Dennis Reid
  • Derek Blackstock
Survey Report



To report physician resource information from the 1996 national anesthesia physician and residency programme surveys in Canada. The findings are used to discuss the potential effects on availability of future specialist anesthesia services in Canada.


Twenty-six hundred and ninety-three physicians (2,206 specialists, 487 family physicians) providing anesthesia services were surveyed. Information on demographics and patterns of clinical practice were sought. Anesthesia programme directors provided trainee information. Projections of the potential number of practicing anesthesiologists to 2026 were made based on the number of available training positions and age distribution of anesthesiologists.


There was a 58.3% response rate to the national survey. Since 1986 there has been a 10% increase in the number of specialist anesthesiologists. Marked regional variations in age distribution and changes in the number of specialist anesthesiologists were noted. Most specialists remain in the region or province of postgraduate training. Sixty percent of specialists were either re-entry trainees or international medical graduates. Changes in anesthesia practice patterns have resulted in 40% of the anesthesiologist’s work now occurring outside of the operating room. Anesthesia training positions have decreased by at least 15%. The population of Canada is projected to increase by 33.8% between 1996 and 2026. If current government and position allocation policies continue, it is projected there will be 0% increase in the number of specialist anesthesiologists over the same time period.


Changes in anesthesia practices have exacerbated the current shortages of anesthesiologists. These shortages will worsen if the number of, and restrictions to, available residency positions is unchanged.


Physician Resource Training Position International Medical Graduate Residency Position Current Shortage 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Rendre compte des ressources médicales à partir des informations provenant d’enquêtes nationales réalisées en 1996 sur les programmes de résidence et auprès des médecins anesthésiologistes du Canada. Les résultats permettent d’exposer les effets potentiels sur la disponibilité de futurs services spécialisés en anesthésie.


Le formulaire d’enquête a été envoyé à 2 693 médecins (2 206 spécialistes et 487 omnipraticiens) qui pratiquent l’anesthésie. On recherchait des informations démographiques ainsi que des modèles de pratique clinique. Les directeurs de programmes d’anesthésie ont fourni les renseignements sur la formation. Des projections jusqu’en 2026, sur le nombre potentiel d’anesthésiologistes en pratique, ont été faites sur la base du nombre de places possibles pour les résidents et de la distribution de l’âge des anesthésiologistes.


Le taux de réponse à l’enquête nationale a été de 58,3%. Depuis 1986, le nombre d’anesthésiologistes a augmenté de 10%. On a noté des variations régionales marquées dans la distribution de l’âge et des changements du nombre de spécialistes en anesthésie. La plupart travaillent dans la région ou la province où ils ont eu leur formation. Soixante pour cent étaient des omnipraticiens, ou des diplômés de médecine formés à l’étranger, qui avaient étudié l’anesthésie. Les changements de modèles de pratique font que 40% du travail de l’anesthésiologiste ont lieu en dehors de la salle d’opération. Les places en résidence ont baissé d’au moins 15%. Or, la population canadienne devrait s’accroître de 33,8% entre 1996 et 2026. Mais si le gouvernement actuel maintient ses politiques d’allocation de places, on prévoit qu’il y aura 0% d’augmentation du nombre de spécialistes anesthésiologistes pendant cette période.


Les changements dans la pratique de l’anesthésie ont aggravé le manque actuel d’anesthésiologistes. Cette pénurie va augmenter si le nombre de places disponibles en résidence, ou leur restriction, ne changent pas.


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Copyright information

© Canadian Anesthesiologists 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Neil Donen
    • 1
  • Frank King
    • 2
  • Dennis Reid
    • 3
  • Derek Blackstock
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of AnesthesiaUniversity of ManitobaCanada
  2. 2.Department of AnesthesiaMemorial UniversityCanada
  3. 3.Department of AnesthesiaUniversity of OttawaCanada
  4. 4.Department of AnesthesiaUniversity of British ColumbiaCanada

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