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Health Minister Urged to Approve Physician Assistants and Invest in Community Health Centres

The Liberals and Greens are calling on the BC NDP government to expand the available options for health care.

The Liberal Party says it’s time to let Physician Assistants work in the province.

Health critic Shirley Bond says BC “so clearly needs all the help it can get,” and the NDP should take the opportunity to bring in more trained medical professionals.

Bond says health care workers are crying out for relief and Physician Assistants would not only help, but also bring us in line with other jurisdictions across Canada.

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Party leader Kevin Falcon says BC’s healthcare system is in a “deteriorating state of crisis” and Premier David Eby should be considering solutions that alleviate the pressure.

Falcon says the Liberals first raised the issue of Physician Assistants with Health Minister Adrian Dix last may, and says the minister responded that the government had not made it a priority.

The BC Green Party is calling on Health Minister Dix to prioritize investment in community health centres.

BC Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau, MLA for the Cowichan Valley, says the centres are a way to provide better patient-centred care, support healthcare professionals, and ease the impact of the family doctor shortage.

Furstenau is pleased with the new longitudinal family physician payment plan.

We are in a crisis of healthcare that could have been avoided but does not have to get worse. I am pleased that family doctors will now see the financial support they need to continue providing primary care with the new longitudinal family physician payment plan.”

However, she says the new payment model does not address other issues facing primary care.

Furstenau says family doctors are burdened “with running a small business – their practices, a siloed approach to the continuum of care, and ineffective use of other healthcare professions like nurse practitioners.”

She says the province needs to transition to a focus on community health centres.

The Green Party says community health centers bring family physicians together with nurse practitioners and specialists such as psychologists and pharmacists in one place.

Furstenau says the team-based community health centres means “more patients can be seen by more primary care providers,” and Physician Assistants can be employed to support doctors and nurse practitioners.

Specialists work closely with primary care physicians,” says Furstenau, “collaborating on patients’ continuum of care.”

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