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January 11, 1995

Forecasting Physician Workforce Requirements

Author Affiliations

Springfield, Mass

JAMA. 1995;273(2):112. doi:10.1001/jama.1995.03520260031017

To the Editor.  —The forecast of the US physician workforce by Dr Weiner1 is flawed as it applies to surgeons. First, it fails to account for workforce attrition through early retirement in the next decade. There are several active trends, especially a sense of burnout, such that the average age of retirement for general surgeons has decreased to younger than 60 years. This is also reflected in the unprecedented numbers of physicians now using disability as a rationale for retirement, whereas in the past they would shift job functions or specialty to continue working (Mark Shea, CLU, written communication, December 3,1994). There is a clearly expressed "lockerroom and cafeteria" sentiment among my associates that if they were financially able, they would reduce exposure to stresses in work by reduction in their hours or their emergency on-call availability or by change of specialty by 55 years of age. For physicians

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