Physician assistants: We can help ease the strain on B.C.’s health system, like we’re doing across the country and the globe

The Canadian Association of Physician Assistants calls on the NDP government to catch up with Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, and New Brunswick and introduce physician assistants to help improve the health of British Columbians

OTTAWA, October 11, 2018 — Ahead of its national conference in Victoria, the Canadian Association of Physician Assistants (CAPA) is reminding the NDP government that introducing physician assistants in the province is necessary to improving British Columbia’s troubled health care system.

“Cracks in our health system are reaching crisis levels — just ask the 700,000 people without a family doctor or those living in remote communities who are desperate for health care providers,” said Sean Kurtz, CAPA’s Provincial Director for British Columbia. “Provincial and international health systems are leveraging physician assistants to make care more accessible and save money, so why isn’t B.C. doing the same?”

From October 18 to 21, Canadian physician assistants will gather in Victoria to attend the 2018 CAPA Annual Conference and to urge Health Minister Adrian Dix to make the integration of physician assistants a priority. Immediate steps should be modernizing the Health Professions Act to include them and creating a plan for funding models that would allow doctors and health authorities to bring them into residential care, remote communities, and specialty practices.

“The government’s support of the team-based model of care is encouraging, but without physician assistants there is a missing link,” said Kurtz. “By adding them where the needs are the greatest, like underserved rural areas, we can make real progress on targets like more same-day appointments and better continuity of care for people with chronic illnesses.”

Just last year a report from the Conference Board of Canada called physician assistants “a largely untapped resource that can help governments continue to provide high levels of service while reducing overall system costs”. The report recommended that health systems optimize the use of physician assistants and that governments implement appropriate funding models.

“Every health system in the country faces the same dilemma of delivering better care, being more efficient, and cutting costs,” said Trevor Stone, CAPA’s President and a physician assistant in Winnipeg. “Now is the time to take what is working elsewhere, scale it up in B.C., and give patients better and faster access to care.”

Additional Information:

Reports from the Conference Board of Canada on the role, effectiveness, and value of physician assistants:

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.