10 PAs coming to Newfoundland and Labrador to aid overworked doctors
Newfoundland and Labrador's healthcare system is about to undergo a transformation that encourages to alleviate the burden on overworked doctors, reduce wait times, and improve access to essential medical care. This exciting development comes in the form of a three-year pilot project that will introduce physician assistants (PAs) to the province. PAs are healthcare professionals who collaborate with physicians to provide a wide range of medical services, extending the reach of healthcare in a meaningful way. This article explores the potential benefits of this pilot project and highlights the crucial role that physician assistants can play in enhancing healthcare delivery in Newfoundland and Labrador.
Newfoundland and Labrador has been grappling with healthcare challenges, including a shortage of family doctors and long wait-lists for surgeries. This pilot project represents a significant step towards addressing these issues and enhancing the overall healthcare system. Physician assistants are poised to become a crucial part of the solution.
Physician assistants are skilled clinicians who work closely with physicians under their supervision. Their scope of practice is versatile, and they can perform tasks such as taking medical histories, conducting physical exams, and even assisting in surgery. They have the ability to lighten a physician's workload, enabling doctors to focus on more specialized patient care. With PAs by their side, "many hands make light work."
The provincial government has recognized the potential of physician assistants and has decided to introduce them in a limited capacity at five healthcare sites across the province. These sites include Charles S. Curtis Memorial Hospital in St. Anthony, Western Memorial Regional Hospital in Corner Brook, James Paton Memorial Regional Health Centre in Gander, Burin Peninsula Health Care Centre in Burin, and Janeway Children's Health and Rehabilitation Centre in St. John's
These PAs will be involved in various aspects of healthcare, such as inpatient care, surgical/trauma assistance, hospitalist coverage, orphaned patient report follow-up, cancer clinic support, emergency assessments, and patient assessments in primary-care clinics.
Kathleen Abreo, a physician assistant in Manitoba, has been keeping a close eye on this development. She and her husband, Dr. Travis Barron, were considering moving to Newfoundland and Labrador before the pandemic but were deterred by the lack of opportunities for PAs in the province. However, they see the potential of PAs in Newfoundland and Labrador as a game-changer.
Abreo believes that introducing PAs will not only attract medical talent to the province but also significantly improve access to healthcare, especially in underserved rural communities. The addition of PAs can enhance in-person care, reducing the need for intermittent virtual care and increasing preventive health measures, such as cancer screening.
As the pilot project begins, it's essential to note that initially, only Canadian-trained PAs will be accepted. However, there is enormous potential for expansion. Abreo has received inquiries from many PAs interested in working in Newfoundland and Labrador, including expat Newfoundlanders who want to return home. The Department of Health and Community Services has expressed the intention to fund and evaluate the impact of the program.
While the pilot project is a significant step forward, Kevin Dickson, a physician assistant in New Brunswick, believes that Newfoundland and Labrador must act quickly. He argues that the demand for PAs will increase rapidly, and delaying the integration of PAs into the healthcare system could lead to shortages.
The introduction of physician assistants in Newfoundland and Labrador marks a crucial turning point for the province's healthcare system. By enhancing access to medical care and reducing the workload on overworked doctors, PAs have the potential to significantly improve the overall health and well-being of the province's residents. As the pilot project takes flight, Newfoundland and Labrador stands to reap the benefits of this innovative approach to healthcare delivery.
read the full story here: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/physician-assistant-newfoundland-labrador-1.7017415
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