Why there are such long wait times for doctor’s appointments


February 23, 2024 – In Massachusetts, the low number of primary care physicians is lengthening wait times for appointments, according to experts.

Various factors contribute to the limited supply of doctors, said Jose Figueroa, assistant professor of health policy and management at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, in a February 19 CBS Boston story.

“In recent years, we’ve had more primary care doctors leave the profession because they have retired. We have an aging primary care workforce and many of them left during the pandemic,” he said.

Figueroa noted that, in general, fewer students are entering medical school due to high tuition costs and financial debt. Additionally, primary care physicians need to have a wide breadth of knowledge yet are typically paid much less than specialists.

Experts quoted in the article recommended that patients seeking a doctor pick one who is currently available even if that person isn’t their first choice. There may be the opportunity to switch to a different provider down the line, they noted.

Read or watch the CBS Boston story: Why is it so hard to get a doctor’s appointment in Massachusetts?

Photo: iStock/Luciano_Marques