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Year : 2022  |  Volume : 27  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 135-142

Northern Ontario's Rural Physician Teams: Who, why and for how long

1 Division of Clinical Sciences, Northern Ontario School of Medicine, Marathon, Ontario, Canada
2 Northern Ontario School of Medicine, Marathon, Ontario, Canada
3 Faculty of Medicine, Memorial University, St. Johns, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada
4 Marathon Family Health Team, Marathon, Ontario, Canada

Correspondence Address:
MD, MSc, FCFP, FRRMS Eliseo Orrantia
Division of Clinical Sciences, Northern Ontario School of Medicine, Marathon, Ontario
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/cjrm.cjrm_1_21

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Introduction: This study examines the state of Rural and Northern Physician Group Agreement (RNPGA) physician teams in rural Northern Ontario in terms of demographics, intent to stay, length of stay, number of physicians relative to the RNPGA-designated complement and perceptions of various workplace and community factors. Materials and Methods: Data were based on a survey mailed, in 2018, to Ontario physicians in RNPGA communities having a designated complement of 2 or more physicians. Physicians reported on aspects of the work environment, community and intentions to stay. Results: Sixty-five percent of all practices and 91.7% of those with a designated complement of 2 physicians were at or above their government-designated complement. Intent to stay was higher in groups below complement. The mean length of stay was 11.3 years. More physicians were male (58.7%). Older physicians were more represented in smaller practice groups. Physicians reported positive ratings on several aspects of their work environment, community and intentions to stay. Length of stay in the community was related to strong family ties and was a predictor of intent to stay. Many physicians had neither strong family ties (65.3%) nor a rural upbringing (57.3%). Conclusion: The results show positive outcomes in terms of: high intentions to stay, satisfaction with workplace and community factors, and full recruitment into RNPGA groups designated for a complement of two physicians. Further research is needed to understand the role of family ties to length of stay, and the role of level of physician complement and group size in retention and recruitment.

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