Doctor calls on province to allow physician assistants to work in B.C. – CBC

Dr. Alex Natoros says it would be a huge help to struggling communities like Port Hardy

Dec 13, 2022

A doctor working in Port Hardy, B.C. — one of many communities dealing with a doctor shortage — says he could see more patients and help keep the town’s emergency room open if the province would let him hire physician assistants.

Physician assistants are often referred to as “physician extenders,” meaning they work under a doctor to perform many of that doctor’s tasks.

They complete a specific two-year training program to be able to conduct patient interviews and exams, write prescriptions and assist in surgery. Unlike nurse practitioners, they do not practise independently — all the work they do is in the name of the doctor they work for.

Dr. Alex Nataros, a family physician who works in a clinic in Port Hardy, also serves in long-term care in more remote communities and works on rotation in Port Hardy Hospital’s beleaguered emergency room, says physician assistants essentially let him work in multiple places at once.

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