Canadian physician assistants applaud New Brunswick Liberal commitment to creating five non-urgent care centres

Canadian Association of Physician Assistants calls on the Liberals to support modern team-based care and include physician assistants in funding models

Ottawa, August 28, 2018 — The Canadian Association of Physician Assistants (CAPA) welcomes today’s commitment from the New Brunswick Liberal Party to help tackle emergency room wait times in the province by investing in non-urgent primary care centres.

In his announcement Leader Brian Gallant pledged that, if re-elected, a Liberal government will create five new non-urgent care centres across New Brunswick to reduce the pressure on emergency rooms, which are often a first resort for those without a family doctor or who cannot access timely primary care.

“It’s encouraging to see Brian Gallant and the New Brunswick Liberals focus on strategies that can pay off for patients and health care providers,” said Kevin Dickson, CAPA’s Provincial Director for New Brunswick. “By creating new options to care for patients with less complex cases, we can hopefully improve patient flow, decrease ER visits, and ease the workload of the medical team.”

Dickson and two additional physician assistants currently practice at the Dr. Everett Chalmers Regional Hospital ER, where they work in a fast-track area caring for patients with the type of lower-acuity ailments that inevitably come through the ER. The physician assistant program has been central to helping the Chalmers ER reduce wait times and improve key benchmarks like the Leave Without Being Seen rate and Initial Practitioner Assessment Time.

CAPA encourages the Liberals to outline funding models for these non-urgent care centres which include physician assistants. Primary care is an area where physician assistants are proven to help deliver more efficient health care and, as part of the multidisciplinary team, they can work with doctors, nurse practitioners, pharmacists, and other allied health professionals to deliver seamless patient care.

“We’re pleased to see the Liberals put forward a creative solution to address some of the challenges we face,” said Dickson. “We’ve proven that integrating physician assistants in emergency care brings results, and we can do the same for primary care in New Brunswick.”

Leading up to the election, CAPA is calling on all political parties to commit to increasing the number of physician assistants practicing across the province and to include this imperative in their election platforms. By expanding the use of these practitioners and allowing them to work to the full extent of their training, we can build a health workforce that is responsive to the needs of all New Brunswickers.

About the Canadian Association of Physician Assistants

The Canadian Association of Physician Assistants is the national voice of physician assistants in Canada. We support quality standards and competencies and help establish the profession within the national health care framework. Learn more:

Media Contact: Andrea Tiwari, Director, Communications and Stakeholder Relations, or 613 614 6863.