Pauline W. Chen, M.D. worries about the future of medicine:

In the United States, we are now short approximately 9,000 primary care doctors. These are the general internists, family doctors, geriatricians and general pediatricians, the doctors responsible for diagnosing new illnesses, managing chronic ones, advocating preventive care and protecting wellness. And health care leaders predict that that deficit will worsen dramatically in the next 15 years. Specialties like general surgery, neurosurgery and emergency medicine will also become critically understaffed; but primary care will be hardest hit, with a shortfall of more than 65,000 doctors.

We’ve been warned about an impending shortage of primary care doctors for many years.  That shortage now appears to be upon us and we can expect the situation to worsen unless more medical school graduates decide to become general practitioners instead of specialists.  Appealing to a young doctor’s altruism won’t be enough to attract them to primary care.  They’ll need to be shown the money.

Read Dr. Chen’s article here.