Will Connecticut Physician Shortage Affect Patient Care?

Access to physicians is very important for patients. Being able to promptly see a doctor allows for ailments to be diagnosed and treated as soon as possible. However, a recent trend in Connecticut may hinder many patients from having this access.

According to a report by the New Haven Independent, Connecticut is currently suffering from a physician shortage. Reportedly, many patients have had to endure long waits and high amounts of travel to receive proper medical care. Also, many doctors in the state have stopped seeing new patients because their current patient loads are too high.

The impact on patients caused by this shortage could be great. First, the shortage has the obvious effect of impeding a patient’s access to a doctor. Long waits to see a physician could cause delays in the diagnosis and treatment of illnesses. Also, the long waits may discourage people from seeing a doctor at all, which could leave injuries and illnesses untreated.

Also, this shortage might impact the quality of care patients receive when they do see a doctor. The physician shortage could create increased case loads for the doctors who are practicing in the state. These higher workloads may lead to doctors spending less time with patients. This could cause doctor/patient communication problems, which can contribute to diagnosis and medical errors.

Thus, the shortage of doctors in the state could have serious implications for patients. One hopes that efforts are taken to address this shortage to ensure that Connecticut patients have access to medical care, without sacrificing the quality of this care.

Source: New Haven Independent, “Is There A Doctor In The House?,” Magaly Oliviero, 6 Dec 2010