BC specialists say hiring physician assistants would reduce ever-growing waitlists
Specialists like Dr. Yashar Tashakkor and Dr. Chris Hoag find themselves at the forefront of a growing demand for their services. As internal medicine and urology specialists, respectively, they tackle complex cases daily, ranging from high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease to diabetes.
Dr. Tashakkor, with a patient load of 35 to 40 individuals daily, emphasizes the increasing demand for internal medicine physicians. Despite the challenges and a growing waitlist, he observes a significant rise in referrals. This trend is not unique to him, as Dr. Hoag in North Vancouver echoes similar sentiments regarding urology specialists and their ever-expanding waitlists.
The solution proposed by these specialists involves a plea to the province to consider hiring more physician assistants. Dr. Tashakkor envisions a scenario where, under proper supervision, physician assistants could enhance efficiency by handling tasks like communicating blood work results to patients, thereby freeing up valuable time for specialists. Dr. Hoag shares this sentiment, emphasizing the potential for increased efficiency in patient care.
The call for more physician assistants aligns with the desire for a streamlined healthcare system, where specialists can focus on patient care rather than being overwhelmed by administrative tasks. Both doctors advocate for the incorporation of physician assistants into specialized practices, highlighting the positive impact it could have on reducing waitlists and improving overall patient care.
However, Health Minister Adrian Dix points out that the primary challenge lies in the supply of physician assistants. Currently, British Columbia does not train physician assistants, and recruiting them from other jurisdictions is a difficult task. The province has chosen to focus on emergency rooms, where their impact can be maximized.
While Dr. Tashakkor appreciates the presence of physician assistants in emergency departments, he envisions a broader implementation, hoping that specialist offices will be the next frontier. The potential benefits, according to him, include a significant reduction in workloads (up to 30%) for specialists, allowing them to attend to both emergency and regular patients more effectively. This, in turn, could mark a crucial step in alleviating the growing waitlists for specialized care.
As the discussion around the role of physician assistants in specialized healthcare continues, the hope is for collaborative efforts to address the challenges and explore innovative solutions, ultimately improving the efficiency and accessibility of healthcare for all.
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