LETTER: Physician assistants could be the answer

There is an interim solution to the issue of not having enough doctors in Sooke.

Re: Doctor shortage in critical condition (News, Nov. 23)

There is an interim solution to this issue.

I believe Sooke and many other “under serviced communities” can immediately benefit from the B.C. government passing legislation to allow the practice of physician assistants in B.C. Physician assistants are used in every  U.S. state, Manitoba and Ontario.

The physician assistant can competently provide approximately 80 per cent of the daily services that a family physician provides.

Each physician assistant is supervised by a physician. This supervision allows the quality of care to be maintained at the level of a physician. It will not take a major reorganization of the health-care system to do this.

The cost of providing care through a physician affiliated physician assistant is significantly less than having a physician.

I am a B.C. physician who has spent more than 25 years promoting the physician assistant profession, but I have failed so far to convince the B.C. government to pass legislation to bring physician assistants into the B.C. health-care team.

I am willing and ready to step in and help the implementation of a trial program using PA’s in Sooke and in BC, but it will take an enlightened minister of health to allow this to happen.

What does he have to lose? His promise of having a family doctor for every B.C. resident failed miserably.

Dr. Charles Sun, MD

Victoria