PAs can help address our MD shortage
RE: Hamilton’s doctor shortage: We need help (June 29)
We were as concerned as anyone to read about the impact that the physician shortage is having on health care in Hamilton. Physician assistants (PAs) can help! PAs can extend the existing physician workforce, so that more patients can have access to quality care. This can be evidenced by the 30 PAs employed in the Hamilton area who are serving patients in primary care settings and Family Health Teams.
Working in partnership with a PA, physicians can increase the number of patients seen, thereby allowing the practice to take on new patients. PAs can also play a valuable role in reducing wait times and improving patient flow in hospital emergency departments as well as expedite surgical procedures. Under the supervision of physicians, PAs in primary care settings can be used for 75 per cent of all visits without referral to a physician and they can manage up to 62 per cent of all patients in emergency care environments.
Hiring additional PAs in Hamilton will help to alleviate the physician shortage in the community. To help improve patient care while reducing costs, we have called on the government to expand access to PAs immediately. Now is the time.
Chris Rhule, president, Canadian Association of Physician Assistants