There is an election being held NOW for this year’s President-Elect of the Doctors of BC. You should have received a link to a ballot to vote on Friday, April 13 from Everyone Counts Canada. You can vote until May 14, 2018. There are two candidates running. The first is Dr Kathleen Ross, a family practitioner in Coquitlam. Dr Ross is a solid choice but I can’t help noting that it has been four years since our provincial medical organization has had a specialist president, and that the Doctors of BC has only had seven specialist presidents in the past 20 years, with another GP incoming in June.
The other candidate Dr Lloyd Oppel is an Emergency Medicine physician who is our Council of Specialists chair, and is on the new Doctors of BC Board, as well as having served there previously and in many other capacities for the profession in the past twenty-plus years. Lloyd’s unique perspective, in addition to the many contacts he has within the specialist community that he is an integral member of, and within the GP community, and the wealth of knowledge and experience he brings to the table will be particularly welcome in this, a negotiating year.
Whoever you decide to support, please be sure to vote, and urge your colleagues to exercise their right to choose a president-elect.
One complaint we hear from patients is about the “black hole” that referrals to specialists go into. Their GP may advise a specialist’s consult to help in their care, and then send a referral letter to a specialist. But then what? Unfortunately, many of us have a significant waiting list. As we try to work through it, how many of us let the referring doctor and patient know when they might expect an appointment? If you are not doing this, perhaps it is time for you to consider a system change in your practice. Don’t let specialists be the booking black hole.
The Specialist Services Committee (SSC) is about to start developing their next three-year strategic plan. The SSC is a tripartite committee consisting of the Ministry of Health, the Health Authorities, and the Doctors of BC. The Specialists of BC believes the new plan is an opportunity for all specialists to engage with the SSC through the Specialists of BC. The Specialists of BC is looking to form an energetic new partnership with the SSC. We are going to be at the committee table, to help take a leadership role in providing specialty care for our patients and ensuring the right kind and right number of specialists are where they need to be. We want to work with the Ministry and Health Authorities to co-develop new ideas. We need to be sure that specialists are provided with the resources and incentives they require to provide the very best care for BC citizens. Perhaps at the SSC what has been missing is the specialists of, and in, BC? Let’s pull together with the SSC and make it better.
This project is one of the Ministry of Health’s objectives, working with our General Practice colleagues and their patients to create family practices supported to operate at their full potential, integrated into the health care system. As this initiative is being explored, we feel the Ministry should also be asking what it means to specialists. What is our role? How can we help GPs and patients interact more easily in the system? We need to be working with general practice at the start, not coming in at the end. Getting involved with the GP Home is but one of many ways we can support our members. You will be hearing more about this topic from us…