20. Does Saskatchewan health policy encourage specialization?

M. A.M. Gheis

Abstract


This study targets the period between 2001 and 2006. Physician’s pay statistics relating to all fee for service practitioners in Saskatchewan were collected. Data related to a number of independent variables commonly used in the design of pay policies were also obtained. These variables include physicians’ places of training, availability of local graduates from each specialty program in Saskatchewan, physicians percentage turnover, changes of physician to population ratio in most specialties, average number of physician patient contacts in most specialties and income distribution skewness per specialty. Statistical analysis was carried out using STATA package version 9. Correlations between a number of variables was established. These correlations include Percentage turnover and change in pay per year between 2001 and 2006, Percentage of provincial graduates to total work force per specialty on one hand and change in pay between 2001 and 2006 on the other hand. Change in pay on one hand and change in volume of clinical activities carried out on the other.
This paper revealed three relevant findings. Firstly Saskatchewan Health seems to have responded to the shortage of local graduates in certain specialties by allocating these specialties higher pay rise over the last five years. However this increase was associated with increased recruitment of foreign graduates. Secondly there was a consistent, mostly above inflation rate increase in pay for all specialists except clinical pathologists and diagnostic radiologists (two specialties with a relatively high local graduate retention rates). Thirdly, the overall increase in pay negatively correlated with the turnover rates in the case of family physicians, and did not adequately correlate with the changes in work load of the specialists. The writer argues that Saskatchewan Health has to adjust pay modification practices to respond more effectively to graduates recruitment and retention variables.
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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.25011/cim.v30i4.2780

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