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B.C. moving to join other provinces in allowing physician assistants

File photo. (CTV) File photo. (CTV)

Facing increasing pressure to better utilize all available healthcare professionals to ease long waits for medical attention, the provincial government is working with the College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC to enable physician assistants to practice by updating their bylaws. 

The college is responsible for licensing and regulating the PAs, who work under fully qualified physicians, but takes direction from the province on the kinds of positions and licences to administer. Ontario, Alberta, Manitoba, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick already use physician assistants.

In an announcement Wednesday, the Ministry of Health announced that PAs would be eligible to work in emergency departments if the proposed bylaw moves ahead after a week-long public consultation and feedback process now open online until Oct. 4.

For several years, the Canadian Association of Physician Assistants has been lobbying the provincial government to allow their members to practice in B.C., estimating their help could provide some 90,000 people with attachment to a family doctor.

“Physician assistants work under the direction and supervision of physicians to provide a broad range of health services, including performing patient exams, ordering laboratory and diagnostic tests, prescribing medications, managing treatment plans, and advising patients on preventative care and optimal health practices,” reads a government press release, noting there are an estimated 30 to 50 qualified PAs already living in the province. Top Stories

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