In 2000 there were 151 ESS/OSS rural family physicians sustaining local surgical programs in rural communities in western and northern Canada. Although the number of these rural surgerical programs has shrunk significantly – 80 in 1995; 55 in 2011 – the number of ESS/OSS has remained stable at 140 (2011). There is some evidence that several of these smaller programs grew larger in volume, absorbing a workforce displaced from programs which closed.
Although there has been a sizable attrition between 1995 (80 communities) and 2011 (55 communities), these are distributed across all of the western provinces – 11 in BC, 27 in Alberta, 8 in Saskatchewan, 5 in Manitoba, as well as 3 in Northern Ontario and 1 in NWT. These small volume rural surgical programs can generally be found:
- in communities of 5,000‐15,000 where ESS/OSS physicians provide most or all of the local surgical care; and,
- in communities of 15,000‐25,000 where there is usually a significant local specialist presence that is supported by ESS/OSS physicians, especially for on-call relief (a “mixed” model). In larger rural communities, ESS/OSS physicians often provide the operative delivery services where the local General Surgeons do not have the skill set.
- Iglesias S, et al. Advanced skills by Canada’s rural physicians, Can J Rural Med, 1999, 4(4); 227-233
- Iglesias S, Jones L. Rural surgery programs in western Canada. Can J Rural Med, 2002, 7(2)
- Iglesias S. Unpublished data