Physician Assistants are Part of the Solution to Improving Canada's Healthcare System

OTTAWA, June 29, 2011 /CNW/ - A new National Physician Survey released June 27th shows Canada's healthcare system is continuing to face challenges. The survey suggests that heavy workloads and physician shortages are slowing doctors down.  Of the 12,000 practicing physicians who responded to the 2010 survey, nearly three-quarters (72%) reported that the complexity of their patient caseload is placing increased demands on their time. "This growing demand on their time is a concern that must be addressed" states Dr. Robert Boulay, President of the College of Family Physicians of Canada. According to the survey findings specific areas that are the most impacted are urgent care and family practice.

"Canada's health care system requires immediate action in two fundamental areas: access to timely care and sustainability of the system." states Dr. Louis Hugo Francescutti, President of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. This is where the Physician Assistant (PA) role comes in. PA's are physician extenders and not independent practitioners; they work with a degree of autonomy, negotiated and agreed on by the supervising physician(s). Utilizing PA's to support Physician's clinical practice improves patient-centered care and allows the concentration of the expert resources where needed. This team based approach is proven to be essential to providing optimum health care where it is most needed. "Physician Assistants play a much needed role in enhancing access to care for Canadians", said Dr. Jeff Turnbull, President of the Canadian Medical Association. "Coordinating the role they play in the health care system is extremely important in helping address the huge challenges facing patients seeking timely access to quality health care services."

Canadian Association of Physician Assistants' National President, Mr. Ian W Jones feels "that by incorporating Physician Assistants into the Canadian healthcare system we can reduce the workload placed on physicians, advance the quality of service for Canadians and address efficiency and effectiveness factors." Jones also states that "a number of Canadian provinces have already incorporated the PA role into their health delivery system and are thriving." There are PA's practicing in New Brunswick, Alberta, Ontario, and Manitoba. The Canadian Forces is a strong supporter of the PA role and have been utilizing mid-level providers for roughly 50 years. The United States has been employing PAs in excess of 40 years. CAPA believes by fostering the Physician/Physician Assistant Model we can ensure superior care for Canadians and improve access to quality medical care.

About CAPA: Canadian Association of Physician Assistants is a nationally incorporated bilingual professional association that advocates on behalf of its members at the direction of a volunteer Board of Directors which represents Physicians Assistants (PA), PA students, and other members across Canada and internationally. CAPA has members in all national regions as well as the Canadian Forces sharing a desire to help develop Canadian Health Care, and to advocate for the professions' model of cooperative, collaborative, patient centered quality health care.

SOURCE Canadian Association of Physician Assistants

For further information:

Natalie St-Pierre
Communications and Marketing Manager/ Directeur des communications et du marketing
Canadian Association of Physician Assistants/Association canadienne des adjoints au médecin 613-248-2272


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