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Lack of PPE and testing high sources of anxiety for physicians: CMA

Roughly a third of respondents in community practices had two days or less worth of key supplies

April 28, 2020  by CM Staff

OTTAWA — Most physicians are feeling anxious about the COVID-19 pandemic and say that having more PPE and increasing testing would go a long way to help ease that anxiety, says a poll by the Canadian Medical Association (CMA).

Close to 90% of physicians who responded to the survey indicated a greater availability of PPE as a priority. The survey also shows 84% indicating that more testing would help ease their concerns.

The survey is a follow-up to a poll conducted at the end of March, with almost 2,500 physicians responding.

“The anxiety experienced by health care providers is compounded by a lack of information and assurance that everything possible is being done to protect them and understand the spread of the virus among Canadians,” says Dr. Sandy Buchman, CMA president. “We know that governments are working hard to improve the availability of personal protective equipment, but physicians continue to be gravely concerned about their ability to provide care safely.”

Roughly a third of respondents in community practices indicated they had two days or less worth of key PPE or had already run out (eye/faceshields – 36%, respirators – 35%, gowns– 32%, goggles/glasses– 31%).

About half of respondents suggested greater availability of medications for patients (54%), better virtual care options (53%) and increased peer support (49%) could help ease their anxiety around the pandemic.

Physician respondents were divided as to whether they’ve seen an improvement in PPE supply over the past few weeks. Twenty-nine per cent stated supply had improved, while the same proportion (29%) indicated it had gotten worse and 42% had not seen any change.

The survey was conducted between April 20-21 by the CMA.


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