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, Oct. 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:

For further information: Media Contact: Andrea Tiwari, Director, Communications and Stakeholder Relations, or 613 614 6863.

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