Pressure builds for B.C. to recognize physicians assistants

Tuesday, Nov. 27 marks National Physician Assistant Day in Canada.

This comes about a month after the 2018 Canadian Association of Physician Assistants annual conference was held in Victoria, B.C. from Oct. 18 to 21. Ironically, PAs aren’t actually allowed to practice in B.C…. more.

Pressure on government to recognize physician assistants

On the other side of B.C’s. borders — four U.S. states plus Alberta — patients can see a physician assistant for many health concerns.

But not in B.C., where the province does not recognize physician assistants as health professionals, even though they’re trained to do some of the same work that family doctors do…. more.

Calls grow louder for British Columbia to introduce physician assistants to address health care woes

BC Green Party and Doctors of BC join growing list of groups supporting the use of physician assistants to ease pressure on health system

VICTORIA, October 22, 2018 — Over the weekend, BC Green Party leader Andrew Weaver added his support for bringing physician assistants into British Columbia’s team-based model of care.

“You are part of the future of health care,” said Weaver in an address to members of the Canadian Association of Physician Assistants (CAPA) at its annual member meeting and conference in Victoria on Friday, October 19.

Weaver’s show of support comes at a time when wait times and demand for family physicians top the list of concerns of many British Columbians. “The number one challenge in B.C. health care is a lack of family doctors and physician assistants should be part of the solution to close the gap for patients who deserve timely access to care.”

During an opening address to more than 180 conference delegates, Dr. Kathleen Ross, President-Elect of Doctors of BC, described a fundamental need for the role of physician assistants, who help manage all aspects of care for less acute cases and free up doctors to spend more time with patients who need their specialized skills and expertise.

“As we move toward more team-based primary care, physician assistants would be an important support for doctors and patients in British Columbia and we hope the current government will see the way forward in terms of recognizing them in the province,” she said.

These pledges add to the groundswell of support for jumpstarting the process of bringing these advanced practice clinicians on board in a province where 700,000 people don’t have a family doctor and there is an ongoing struggle to recruit and retain health care providers in remote communities.

“Putting physician assistants to work in British Columbia has been stalled for far too long,” said Trevor Stone, the Association’s President. “We have members across the country who would come back here to work in a heartbeat and with better and faster access to care, it’s patients who would be the big winners.”

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.

Physician assistants descend on Victoria to urge NDP government to start using PAs to address gaps in care

More than 180 physician assistants are in Victoria from October 18 to 21 to discover the latest clinical practice developments and tell the government that British Columbia needs PAs

VICTORIA, October 19, 2018 — Canadian physician assistants (PAs) have gathered in Victoria to urge the NDP government to recognize and introduce PAs in the province to address doctor shortages and poor access to care.

“It’s time for British Columbia to catch up with Ontario, Alberta, Manitoba, New Brunswick and many other parts of the world when it comes to leveraging PAs to tackle wait times and escalating health care costs,” said Trevor Stone, President of the Canadian Association of Physician Assistants. “Putting PAs with the right skills in the right settings, starting with rural communities, is an obvious way to save money and improve the health of British Columbians, yet the government refuses to act.”

From coast to coast, CAPA has members with tremendous skills and experience who would come to B.C. and make immediate contributions but are completely thwarted by bureaucratic hurdles. CAPA members are calling on Health Minister Adrian Dix to modernize the Health Professions Act to include PAs and create a plan to integrate them into communities with the greatest need.

“It’s a disgrace that military veterans, who served as PAs abroad and right here at Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt, cannot maintain a career in their chosen field when they transition to civilian life,” said Stone. “These individuals would love nothing more than to use their skills and training to provide care in their home communities.”

More than 180 Canadian and international PAs are converging in Victoria for the annual CAPA conference, where they’ll discuss emerging trends in clinical practice and showcase examples of how PAs improve quality and drive efficiencies. CAPA is also meeting with local politicians and health system leaders, encouraging them to take action so PAs can start making a difference.

Some of the critical topics to be addressed at the four-day conference, happening from October 18 to 21, include:

  • Mental health — a look at the landscape of mental health services and how PAs can help bridge gaps in access to care.
  • Indigenous health care — an exploration of the role of elders in health services and applying Indigenous Culturally Safe Practice in patient encounters.
  • Rural and remote medicine — learnings from the first PA in Manitoba who serviced 26 northern and remote communities more than 800 kilometres from a tertiary care centre.

The conference is the largest annual event that brings together these advanced practice clinicians to build their skills and highlight the diverse roles they play in cancer centres, long-term care facilities, emergency rooms and beyond.

Media are invited to attend – please consult the online program and check in at the registration desk to access the sessions.

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.

Physician assistants say they can help B.C. health care woes

For years, Eric Demers provided medical care on Canada’s army bases and submarines. Now as part of the Canadian Association of Physicians Assistants, he said physicians assistants (PAs) are one way to address B.C.’s shortage of health care providers…more.

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