Universal health care in Canada provides data on virtually all procedures for which a fee is charged. The data from five Canadian provinces have been utilized to calculate the requirement for surgical specialists, and to project needs in 1976 and 1981.
For each province, the specialized work load (total time spent on "specialized" operations only) was divided by the average work load (average time spent per specialist doing all specialized and non-specialized operations) to calculate the number of specialists who would have been needed in 1971 in general surgery and five specialties. Projection of these data to the year 1981 indicates that in all five provinces only 42 more general surgeons will be required; and the addition of 13 cardiovascular surgeons, 15 otolaryngologists, 64 orthopedists, 44 plastic surgeons, 24 urologists, and 27 neurosurgeons will meet the needs. It is apparent that these requirements can be met by existing residency programs; indeed, some restriction in size may be necessary.