Canada’s Physician Assistants say it’s time for Quebec to introduce PAs into the health system to help reduce wait times and improve access
QUÉBEC CITY – November 11, 2022 – With the National Assembly in view from their three-day conference, the Canadian Association of Physician Assistants (CAPA) called on the provincial government to introduce physician assistants (PAs) into the health system to help reduce wait times, overcrowded emergency departments and surgical backlogs.
With emergency room occupancy rates in Québec exceeding capacity, CAPA pointed to the opportunity that exists for PAs to help and supply some immediate support to the province’s health workforce. There are almost 1000 PAs working in health care settings in Canada, including in Manitoba, Alberta, Ontario, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick, who play important roles in hospitals, emergency departments, primary care settings and across most specialties.
“With the health care system in the province under incredible strain, there should be no clearer sign that Québec needs to catch up with the rest of the country and bring PAs into the fold,” said Kevin Dickson, CAPA president. “In other jurisdictions, we have seen the impact PAs have on increasing access to care, improving patient satisfaction and generally, reducing pressure on the wider system.”
PAs are clinicians who are educated in the medical school model and practice medicine under the direct supervision of a licensed physician, often within a multidisciplinary health team.
“Doctors throughout Québec have expressed enthusiastic support for working with PAs,” said Guillaume Couture, CAPA’s Alternate Director of Québec. “They know that with the help of PAs, they can improve the care they provide. There are retired military PAs here, who could help support the health system! We can integrate this model of care in Québec.”
- Almost 1,000 PAs practice across Canada in Ontario, Alberta, Manitoba, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.
- PAs are practicing across the Globe including in the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, the U.S. and more.
- Family medicine, emergency medicine, surgical specialties, psychiatry, geriatrics, and general medicine are among the many clinical settings where Canadian PAs are well-established.
- In an Ontario study on the utilization of PAs, 71% of physicians working with PAs reported that the PA had a positive impact on patient throughput, with higher results in the non-hospital settings than in the hospital settings.
About the Canadian Association of Physician Assistants (CAPA)
CAPA 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.
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