Resident Doctors of BC’s response to the 2015 Ministry of Health Policy Papers
The past year has been an exciting time for Resident Doctors of BC. Our advocacy committee has been working to increase resident engagement around provincial health policy issues. One such opportunity has been gathering resident feedback around the 2015 British Columbia Ministry of Health series of policy papers.
These papers were committed to addressing complex issues in the healthcare system, and focused on areas such as primary and community care, rural health, health human resource planning, and information management/information technology.
Residents were invited to participate in discussions and provide feedback on these papers. To ensure a comprehensive resident perspective, we sought input from residents with focus groups in Prince George and Vancouver, and an online survey.
The results of these discussions can be found in our response, which can be viewed in its entirety here.
Generally, residents agreed with the overarching goals of the policy papers. Major areas of feedback to the Ministry included:
The need for primary care practice models that are dynamic and responsive to the needs of individual communities as well as the interests and needs of physicians. For example, we encouraged the Ministry to explore mobile multi-disciplinary teams using technology in addition to stand-alone team-based clinics, which have worked well in some communities. We also stressed that many Family Medicine residents are keen to combine outpatient practice with in-patient care, but require supports to help balance their responsibilities in both areas, as well as support for ongoing training in hospital-based medicine.
The incredible value of rural residency rotations, and the importance of mandatory rural rotations during residency training in most specialties. We further advocated for increased financial support for residents interested in doing electives in rural settings.
The creation of a provincial Health Human Resources framework, shaped through feedback from residents themselves. We stressed that such a framework would need to be easily accessible for residents and medical students, to help them make career decisions based on up-to-date information, to enable a smooth transition from training to practice, and to ensure sufficient available physicians to meet population need.
The importance of the development of a single health record for British Columbians. Residents strongly believe that we need a province-wide centralized electronic medical record that can be accessed by care providers working in both hospitals and community clinics across the province. The standard of care for every patient should be that their health care provider has rapid, 24/7 access to their complete medical record.
On August 19th, members of our Advocacy Committee – Drs. Goldis Mitra, Paxton Bach and Clark Funnell – attended a meeting in Victoria with the Assistant Deputy Minister of Health and a number of other influential Ministry of Health representatives to deliver the feedback from residents. The Ministry was extremely responsive, and expressed a strong interest in continued resident engagement around many of these issues.
It is clear that resident doctors are interested in participating in, and contributing to, effective and lasting change around some of the issues that matter most to the health system and ultimately patient care. Here at Resident Doctors of BC, we look forward to seeing these proposals implemented in the coming years, and working with the Ministry and medical community to ensure their success.