The majority of physicians are feeling anxious about the pandemic and say that having more PPE and increasing testing would go a long way to help ease that anxiety, says a new poll by the Canadian Medical Association (CMA).
Close to 90% of physicians who responded to the survey indicated that a greater availability of PPE would help reduce their anxiety around the pandemic. The survey also points to nationwide concern in the levels of COVID-19 testing, with physicians overall (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.
With these findings in hand, the CMA is calling for greater transparency on the distribution of PPE for health care providers and urgent action to increase levels of population testing.
“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.”
Other survey findings:
• For respondents in community practices, roughly a third indicated they had two days or less worth of key PPE or had already run out (eye/faceshields 36%, respirators (e.g. N95) 35%, gowns 32%, goggles/glasses 31%).
• About half of respondents suggested that 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. 29% stated that supply had improved, while the same proportion (29%) indicated it had gotten worse. 42% had not seen any change.
Note: The survey was conducted between April 20 and 21, 2020 by the CMA.