THE DECLINING RATIO of physicians to population and the accompanying decrease in the number of general practitioners or family doctors present a serious problem demanding urgent attention.
Some Factors in Physician Shortages
Demographers predict that the population of the United States will reach 215 million by 1970. At the present rate of medical training, it will be impossible to maintain the present ratio of 133 physicians per 100,000 population. Several recent publications,1-4 have considered this ratio and have emphasized its crudeness as an index of the supply of physicians relative to the needs for medical service. The ratio does not reflect that the number of physicians engaged in activities such as teaching and research has almost quadrupled in the past 30 years. Furthermore, 40% of all physicians are listed as specialists.5 Alvey6 recently pointed out that data in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that 95%
Deuschle KW. Training Physicians for Family Medicine. JAMA. 1962;181(5):389–392. doi:10.1001/jama.1962.03050310029006
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