Canadian physician assistants applaud New Brunswick Liberal commitment to creating five non-urgent care centres

Canadian Association of Physician Assistants calls on the Liberals to support modern team-based care and include physician assistants in funding models

Ottawa, August 28, 2018 — The Canadian Association of Physician Assistants (CAPA) welcomes today’s commitment from the New Brunswick Liberal Party to help tackle emergency room wait times in the province by investing in non-urgent primary care centres.

In his announcement Leader Brian Gallant pledged that, if re-elected, a Liberal government will create five new non-urgent care centres across New Brunswick to reduce the pressure on emergency rooms, which are often a first resort for those without a family doctor or who cannot access timely primary care.

“It’s encouraging to see Brian Gallant and the New Brunswick Liberals focus on strategies that can pay off for patients and health care providers,” said Kevin Dickson, CAPA’s Provincial Director for New Brunswick. “By creating new options to care for patients with less complex cases, we can hopefully improve patient flow, decrease ER visits, and ease the workload of the medical team.”

Dickson and two additional physician assistants currently practice at the Dr. Everett Chalmers Regional Hospital ER, where they work in a fast-track area caring for patients with the type of lower-acuity ailments that inevitably come through the ER. The physician assistant program has been central to helping the Chalmers ER reduce wait times and improve key benchmarks like the Leave Without Being Seen rate and Initial Practitioner Assessment Time.

CAPA encourages the Liberals to outline funding models for these non-urgent care centres which include physician assistants. Primary care is an area where physician assistants are proven to help deliver more efficient health care and, as part of the multidisciplinary team, they can work with doctors, nurse practitioners, pharmacists, and other allied health professionals to deliver seamless patient care.

“We’re pleased to see the Liberals put forward a creative solution to address some of the challenges we face,” said Dickson. “We’ve proven that integrating physician assistants in emergency care brings results, and we can do the same for primary care in New Brunswick.”

Leading up to the election, CAPA is calling on all political parties to commit to increasing the number of physician assistants practicing across the province and to include this imperative in their election platforms. By expanding the use of these practitioners and allowing them to work to the full extent of their training, we can build a health workforce that is responsive to the needs of all New Brunswickers.

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: capa-acam.ca.

Media Contact: Andrea Tiwari, Director, Communications and Stakeholder Relations, atiwari@capa-acam.ca or 613 614 6863.

Association: Hiring more physician assistants one step towards improving access to care in New Brunswick

The Canadian Association of Physician Assistants calls on all political parties to commit to increasing the number of physician assistants to help improve the health of New Brunswickers

FREDERICTON, August 27, 2018 — With the provincial election campaign officially underway, the Canadian Association of Physician Assistants (CAPA) is in Fredericton to remind leaders and candidates that adding more physician assistants to the province is part of the solution to improving New Brunswick’s troubled health care system.

“People in this province want a government that will come up with creative solutions to address the access to care issues that have plagued us for years,” said Kevin Dickson, New Brunswick’s Provincial Director for CAPA and a practicing physician assistant at the Dr. Everett Chalmers Regional Hospital. “For the past eight years we’ve shown how physician assistants in Fredericton’s ER can improve care and save money. It’s really high time that more people across New Brunswick had access to them.”

CAPA is meeting with parties and health system leaders, urging them to take action so patients can take full advantage of physician assistants. Immediate steps should be increased funding so health authorities can hire more physician assistants, and a new funding model that would bring them into primary care clinics, long-term care facilities, and specialty practices.

“The status quo is not working for New Brunswick,” said Dickson. “We can point to provinces where the integration of more physician assistants has moved the needle in areas like access to primary care, ER wait times, and overall patient satisfaction. The challenges here aren’t unique, but what we need is for politicians to find the resolve to act — the people of New Brunswick deserve no less.”

Physician assistants are skilled health care providers who work under the supervision of a licensed physician to extend productivity and allow more patients to be seen. They perform tasks delegated by the doctor that include taking patient histories, conducting physical exams, ordering and interpreting tests, and prescribing medications. With a generalist training they can work in a variety of specialties and the nature of the relationship, where the doctor guides shared decision-making and the physician assistant ensures seamless care, brings invaluable efficiencies to our health system.

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.

Additional Information and Resources

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: capa-acam.ca.

Media Contact: Andrea Tiwari, Director, Communications and Stakeholder Relations, atiwari@capa-acam.ca or 613 614 6863.

Physician assistants to political parties: Time to bring our expertise to more patients across New Brunswick

The Canadian Association of Physician Assistants calls on all parties to commit to increasing the number of physician assistants to help improve the health of New Brunswickers

FREDERICTON, July 31, 2018 — Ahead of New Brunswick’s upcoming election, calls are growing louder for candidates and political parties to commit to growing the number of physician assistants currently practicing in the province.

“Physician assistants are a health force multiplier,” said Kevin Dickson, New Brunswick’s Provincial Director for the Canadian Association of Physician Assistants (CAPA) and a physician assistant who practices at the Dr. Everett Chalmers Regional Hospital. “Adding physician assistants to multidisciplinary teams just makes sense because we’re proven to help in the key areas governments need to tackle — like wait times and access to care — and we support overstretched doctors.”

To help bring down wait times and save money, CAPA is encouraging all parties to support increased funding for physician assistants in hospitals, primary care settings, and long-term care and to create more training spaces to help the province recruit and retain these valuable health care providers.

The term physician assistant may be a mystery to many people, but in fact the profession has been around for more than 40 years and health systems in Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta, and within the Canadian Forces have widely adopted the role. Physician assistants are highly skilled health care providers who work under the supervision of a licensed physician to perform delegated tasks and help improve access to care. Taking patient histories, conducting physical exams, ordering and interpreting tests, and prescribing medications are just a few examples of what they do.

As emergency room (ER) overcrowding and long wait times continue to plague the province, physician assistants are already playing an unsung role in turning the tide. At the Dr. Everett Chalmers Regional Hospital where Dickson practices, having two full-time physician assistants on staff has helped lower two key ER benchmarks — the Leave Without Being Seen rate went from 16 per cent to 11 per cent and the Initial Practitioner Assessment Time was reduced by approximately 40 per cent.

“Modern medicine is a team sport and physician assistants play a critical role on the collaborative health care team in our ER,” said Dr. Graeme Young, Chief of Emergency Medicine, Fredericton Zone at the Horizon Health Network. “When we introduced them several years ago, New Brunswick was considered a pioneer. Today we lag in terms of funding them and taking advantage of what they bring to patients and the health system.”

Beyond helping improve the quality of patient care, adding more physician assistants has the potential to save money. A 2016 report from the Conference Board of Canada found that if physician assistants could relieve more than 30 per cent of a doctor’s time in all practice areas, the system could realize $620 million in cost savings.

“Around the world physician assistants are known to help stressed health systems reduce costs and improve care,” says CAPA President Trevor Stone. “Now is the time to move quickly and expand the numbers in New Brunswick. With better and faster access to care, it is patients who would be the big winners.”

Additional Information and Resources

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: capa-acam.ca.

Media Contact: Andrea Tiwari, Director, Communications and Stakeholder Relations, atiwari@capa-acam.ca or 613 521 2226.

B.C. should allow physician assistants

There simply aren’t enough providers to care for everyone in B.C., especially those in remote communities. Recruiting more family doctors and hiring more nurse practitioners will most certainly help… more

Health-care fix needs innovative thinking

Another means of relieving the pressure on the emergency room physician would be the introduction of physician assistants to the province’s health care system similar to what exists in New Brunswick, Ontario and Manitoba…more.

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