To provide an overview of the results of the Canadian Psychiatric Association (CPA) practice profile survey (PPS), a national survey of psychiatrists and psychiatric practice.
Mail-in interviews were sent to all Canadian psychiatrists listed in their provincial registers and to all active CPA members (total = 3628). Respondents provided general information about their professional activities for one 24-hour day and detailed information for 1 randomly selected hour. Patient information--including sociodemographics, diagnostic profiles, functioning levels, risk of harm to self or others, and disposition--was elicited for 1 patient seen during the random hour as well as for the most seriously ill patient receiving clinical services that day.
Psychiatrists work 10 hours daily on average and take calls for 5 hours. Sixty percent of the overall work time is in the provision of direct patient care, and fee-for-service payments account for 55% of hours worked. Forty percent of the clinical work is provided in a hospital setting, and 34% is in a private office. Agency work accounted for only 6% of clinical hours worked. Relatively few practitioners provide services to children, older, or forensic patients. The average patient seen is female, aged 40 years, unmarried or with a marital disruption, significantly impaired in multiple areas of functioning, and likely to suffer from depression (21%), schizophrenia (14%), an anxiety disorder (13%), or bipolar disorder (12%). Comorbid Axis I and Axis II disorders are common (each over 30%) and fairly high rates of suicidal (15% to 30%) and homicidal (10% to 20%) risk are present.
This paper suggests a wide diversity of practice in psychiatry in Canada, with services being provided to a wide range of individuals with many different conditions.