Calls grow louder for British Columbia to introduce physician assistants to address health care woes

BC Green Party and Doctors of BC join growing list of groups supporting the use of physician assistants to ease pressure on health system

VICTORIA, October 22, 2018 — Over the weekend, BC Green Party leader Andrew Weaver added his support for bringing physician assistants into British Columbia’s team-based model of care.

“You are part of the future of health care,” said Weaver in an address to members of the Canadian Association of Physician Assistants (CAPA) at its annual member meeting and conference in Victoria on Friday, October 19.

Weaver’s show of support comes at a time when wait times and demand for family physicians top the list of concerns of many British Columbians. “The number one challenge in B.C. health care is a lack of family doctors and physician assistants should be part of the solution to close the gap for patients who deserve timely access to care.”

During an opening address to more than 180 conference delegates, Dr. Kathleen Ross, President-Elect of Doctors of BC, described a fundamental need for the role of physician assistants, who help manage all aspects of care for less acute cases and free up doctors to spend more time with patients who need their specialized skills and expertise.

“As we move toward more team-based primary care, physician assistants would be an important support for doctors and patients in British Columbia and we hope the current government will see the way forward in terms of recognizing them in the province,” she said.

These pledges add to the groundswell of support for jumpstarting the process of bringing these advanced practice clinicians on board in a province where 700,000 people don’t have a family doctor and there is an ongoing struggle to recruit and retain health care providers in remote communities.

“Putting physician assistants to work in British Columbia has been stalled for far too long,” said Trevor Stone, the Association’s President. “We have members across the country who would come back here to work in a heartbeat and with better and faster access to care, it’s patients who would be the big winners.”

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.