B.C. should allow physician assistants

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Times Colonist

MAY 27, 2018 12:05 AM

The B.C. government should be applauded for launching a renewed approach to primary care. Patients in B.C. deserve faster and improved access to primary care, which is a key pillar in any successful health system. A focus on team-based care will be critical to this success.

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.

What was not included in this important announcement was the introduction of physician assistants into B.C. PAs work independently under the supervision of a physician and are able to diagnose, develop treatment plans and work closely with patients throughout their care.

PAs practice in Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, New Brunswick and in our Canadian Armed Forces. They are also critical members of the health-care team in the U.K., the Netherlands, the U.S. and elsewhere.

They’re used in all of these jurisdictions because evidence proves that PAs reduce wait times, improve care and save money. It’s time for B.C. to introduce PAs so that patients and families can benefit from their skills as part of the health care team.

Trevor Stone

President

Canadian Association of Physician Assistants

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