Expanding on Physician Assistants in Canada will address the gaps in our healthcare system!
OTTAWA, Nov. 27, 2017 /CNW/ - Physician Assistants (PAs) have been proven to play a key role in Canada's health system. In celebration of National PA Day, the Canadian Association of Physician Assistants (CAPA) is calling on governments across the country to expand the role of PAs so that patients can benefit from improved health outcomes, better access to care and reduced wait times at a lower cost to the health system.
New research demonstrates the value that PAs bring to Canadians. Recent reports published by the Conference Board of Canada showcase the benefits that PAs can offer and provide recommendations for their integration across Canada. "The reports demonstrate that PAs can play an essential role in the healthcare system in terms of addressing service delivery gaps in medical care in a cost-effective manner" said Louis Thériault, Vice-President Industry, Strategy and Public Policy, Conference Board. "Our research offers considerations for government on how to introduce and implement PAs into their provincial healthcare systems while saving millions."
PAs are practicing in all specialty settings across Canada: however, many provinces have yet to get on board with PAs. CAPA has published a National Report Card comparing how provinces are faring in comparison to one another, as well as other countries and are asking governments to support the expansion of their role in their respective health systems. In reviewing the findings, Ontario and Manitoba are the clear winners in Canada. Both provinces offer licensing, training and certification of PAs and there is strong stakeholder support including a commitment from government for the development of the profession. Other provinces such as Alberta and New Brunswick are well on their way: however, need to put various steps in place to ensure the growth of the profession. Jurisdictions such as British Columbia, Quebec and the other Atlantic provinces need to catch up with the rest of the country. The US, Netherlands and the UK are way ahead of Canada with implementation and are shining examples for Canada to follow.
With its origins in the Canadian Armed Forces, PAs have been working in Canada's healthcare system for over 40 years. PAs were introduced into Manitoba in 1999, and today they are integral members of healthcare teams in Ontario, New Brunswick and Alberta, with nearly 600 PAs practicing throughout the country. Across Europe, including the UK, Ireland and the Netherlands, governments are investing in PAs.
In the US, PAs have been practicing for over 60 years, and are among the fastest growing segments of the healthcare workforce; with over 130,000 PAs practicing in virtually every medical specialty. Both the Netherlands and UK governments are fully committed and are going all in on PAs with anticipated dramatic growth over the next few years.
Approximately 4.5 million Canadians do not have access to a primary care provider, and most have great difficulty in accessing medical care in a timely manner; PAs are part of the solution. Through a collaborative partnership with supervising physicians, PAs work independently within a multidisciplinary patient-centered model of care. In this role, PAs can diagnose and treat patients in a manner that allows for a better distribution of time and resources within the team.
"PAs are essential in addressing the health human resource challenges that exist across Canada and are instrumental in improving access to safe high quality medical care in a cost-effective manner" said Trevor Stone, National President, CAPA. "In many jurisdictions, patients, like physicians have come to rely on PAs to expedite care especially in underserved populations. Now is the time to expand on PAs. Patients would be the real winners with improved access and reduced wait times", said Stone.
SOURCE Canadian Association of Physician Assistants
For further information: Natalie St-Pierre, 613-854-0675