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The courts will not save Canada's sick health system; Dr Day is not a gadfly
Public

The BC ruling, after grinding through the courts for a decade, is but a reminder that Canada's sick health care system will not be cured by its dysfunctional legal system. To expect our system to be saved by the courts amounts to, at best, magical thinking, while more and more Canadians who suffer in silence and risk dying from inability to access essential care will "just have to wait".

Is virtual medicine essentially unprofessional?
Public

How the College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia

Fails the Citizens of the Province

Below the banner of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia (CPSBC) web site, College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia (cpsbc.ca), they proclaim that their mission is “Serving the public by regulating physicians and surgeons”.

The Bhagavad Gita Comes Alive
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The Bhagavad Gita Comes Alive coverDr Chris Sedegreen.

Some time before the Christmas holiday a colleague mentioned a book, The Bhagavad Gita Comes Alive, on the Doclounge listserve. I’d like to thank him for bringing this lovely book to our attention. I ordered and received the paperback version (somewhat cheaper than the hard cover, but in retrospect I wish I'd ordered the hard cover). This publication is beautifully printed.

Will the new BC Societies Act transition be a train wreck?
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Dr Z. Essak, MD - Vancouver, BC - February 13, 2017.

Train wreckNo one can deny the importance of BC societies to communities large and small throughout the province, assisting all kinds of people as charitable and not for profit societies, including associations that represent occupations and professions.

What can we learn from the early example of transition by the Doctors of BC, the BC Medical Association, formerly a Reporting Society, declaring themselves to be a member-funded society and escaping public disclosure. Do they even meet the required criteria?

When we ask, it may come as a shock to learn the BC Registry is not confirming compliance requirements are met. Is the BC Government failing to provide proper leadership and oversight to the tasks of government?

Is the public trust being neglected? Will there be havoc on public interest and individual rights? Are we going to see a train wreck?

Rethinking the Internet: How We Lost Control and How To Take It Back
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Rethinking the Internet, scene of the debate.This is an interesting and thought provoking 1 hour video interview and debate. It begins with a 5 minute overview and then proceeds with an interview by moderator Bill Blakemore with Jaron Lanier, a long-time computer scientist and developer and the father of virtual reality, who is concerned about the use of behaviour modification "to engage and addict you to algorithmic exploration until we find whatever it is that will get you".

Following the interview there is a debate with four speakers; Tim Hwang, Meredith Whittaker, Aviv Ovadya, and Brett Frischmann. They touch on many aspects of not only the Internet but also power in organizations, how it's lost and who has it.

The Future of Psychiatry?
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Dr. Chris Sedergreen.

A highly respected psychiatrist has recently sent a letter to her patients announcing her decision not to return to clinical practice. I've known her professionally for over 15 years and can attest that her departure will leave a gap in her patient's lives that will be almost impossible to fill.

More than 10,000 people sign petition to repeal BC's Bill 36
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Vancouver, BC - February 13, 2023.

More than ten thousand people sign petition opposing Bill 36A petition to repeal BC's Bill 36 - Health Professions and Occupations Act has already gathered more than 10,800 signatures. It was presented to the BC Parliament when the session resumed earlier this month. More signatures are still being collected and will be presented to the House later. It is already one of the largest petitions introduced to the BC Legislature.

The Patient-Physician Covenant: An Affirmation of Asklepios from Annals of Internal Medicine
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Medicine is, at its center, a moral enterprise grounded in a covenant of trust. This covenant obliges physicians to be competent and to use their competence in the patient's best interests. Physicians, therefore, are both intellectually and morally obliged to act as advocates for the sick wherever their welfare is threatened and for their health at all times.

Today, this covenant of trust is significantly threatened.

Has the BC Medical Association been stolen from the members?
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Doctors and members of the BC Medical Association (Doctors Of BC) are asking what is happening at the helm of the BCMA? Some are saying they think the new CEO Allan Seckel is not good for the Association and a sign that bad things are happening to the Association.

Who is Allan Seckel? How did he get to be the BCMA CEO? What is he doing as the CEO? And what is the BCMA Board doing?

Documentary "Duty To Document" highlights the erosion of democracy in BC, in Canada, and around the World
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Duty to DocumentDr Z. Essak, MD - Vancouver BC - June 6, 2021.

This is a very important and timely documentary illustrating from our own governments in BC and Canada how critical records are disappearing from public view. It highlights the "triple delete scandal" from 2015 when it came to light the BC Government was improperly deleting email records concerning missing and murdered indigenous women along the "Highway of Tears". The documentary illustrates the escalating, troubling trend in the use of post-it notes and the failure to keep records. A trend seen not only in government, but in associations and corporations striking at the heart of transparency and democracy.

Burnout and Resilience
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Vancouver BC - Oct 19, 2011.

burning candleA talk on burnout in doctors at a recent conference in Vancouver provided good information and stimulated further exploration.

During questions the speaker said the prevalence of burnout in doctors is 20 percent and tends to occur in pockets or clusters.

The talk focused on burnout resulting from lack of recognition while caring for others. Although burnout can also result from lack of recognition from colleagues and co-workers, lack of resources, and degree of bureaucracy.

Burnout can also occur in other aspects of our lives besides our work.

Good news from the talk is research shows that when individuals examined their level of burnout and attended to the risk of burnout they were not only able to reduce their current risk but their future risk of burnout continued to remain less and even improved further over time.

Is BC NDP new legislation poised to politically interfere with licensing of doctors and health professionals?
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Vancouver, BC - November 24, 2022.

 Health Professions and Occupations ActDoes the BC NDP's new legislation: Bill 36 - Health Professions and Occupations Act, introduced on October 19, 2022, set the stage for political interference in the licensing of physicians and other health professionals? Under sections 519 to 532 of the proposed Act, the Cabinet can make changes to the regulations including disciplinary measures, the composition of discipline panels and the oversight of complaints. In BC, will politics trump science when it comes to health professionals?

The Association of the Doctors Of BC has not alerted physicians and the public of problems and concerns related to the new Act. However, social media has been exploding with comments about the recently tabled legislation.

Are band-aids the right Rx to save family medicine?
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band-aid solutionThe $118 million announced consisting of $75 million new money plus redistribution of existing funds as a "stabilization fund" is an interim measure, a one-time handout over 4 months October 2022 to Jan. 31st, 2023, to help family physicians (FP) in the community, both longitudinal practices and walk-in clinics with overhead costs to keep their doors open until January 2023. This first step is intended to buy more time for the government and DoBC to develop a "new payment model" that will be introduced and implemented. According to DoBC President's letter, the new model will be based on compensation determined by a number of factors including time, patient encounters, and attachments/complexity.

We are in grave danger, we have taken people out of the picture.
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Dr Z. Essak, MD - Vancouver, BC - October 17, 2022

It’s about learning, knowledge, sharing and understanding so we can make our society and the world better.

We are in grave danger. Soon those with memories of how things were different will be gone. We will be left at risk of believing the way we do things is the only way.

We have taken people out of the picture. We have become leaders of entities, not leaders of people.

An appeal to heal the wounds from the past: 111 years ago, and from the 2021 CMA AGM
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September 30, Tweet by Dr. Alika Lafontaine2021

Open letter to CMA Board Chair
and CMA President-Elect.

Dr. Suzanne Strasberg, Board Chair, Canadian Medical Association,

The tweet by Dr. Alika Lafontaine, CMA President-Elect, and your re-tweet of his message leave many physician colleagues with the strong impression that some folks are slow to learn and apply the principles of fair democratic practice. Instead, the content reflects arrogance, bias, and contempt.

News Items

What loud bells will wake BC doctors and the public to the dangers of Bill 36, the HPOA?
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Dr. Zafar Essak, MD - Vancouver, BC - November 6, 2023.

Image of the great bell ben.There is a sleeping sickness throughout our land. It has found its way into health care and affected all the doctors. It is not some esoteric thing happening in some small political arena or lawyers club. This impacts all of BC and all of us: the ability of doctors to practice medicine the way they were taught and trained, according to their conscience and oath for the benefit of patients.

The significance of Bill 36, the Health Professions and Occupations Act, is profound and the association, Doctors of BC, should be ringing alarm bells. Instead, they are subduing the importance of it, convincing all doctors to move on to the regulations, like lemmings over the cliff. Not only is this unhelpful to doctors, it is actually dangerous for doctors with their purpose and professional obligations to deliver health care to patients. Bells need to ring everywhere, and the association should be dissolved.

Documentary "Duty To Document" highlights the erosion of democracy in BC, in Canada, and around the World
Public

Duty to DocumentDr Z. Essak, MD - Vancouver BC - June 6, 2021.

This is a very important and timely documentary illustrating from our own governments in BC and Canada how critical records are disappearing from public view. It highlights the "triple delete scandal" from 2015 when it came to light the BC Government was improperly deleting email records concerning missing and murdered indigenous women along the "Highway of Tears". The documentary illustrates the escalating, troubling trend in the use of post-it notes and the failure to keep records. A trend seen not only in government, but in associations and corporations striking at the heart of transparency and democracy.

Delegation to Campbell River City Council on concerns arising from HPOA
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Screen capture youtube video Cambell River delegation on HPOA, Feb 29.At the Campbell River City Council meeting on February 29, 2024, a delegation of physician Dr Anna Kindy and retired naturopath Dr Ingrid Pincott discussed the Health Professions and Occupation Act, HPOA, and the serious concerns it raises for health professionals, patients, and people living in and around Campbell River. Like most City Council meetings in BC it was streamed live and recorded and can be watched on YouTube. City councillors asked questions and expressed the view that these concerns are important and that they would like to ensure it is discussed when the UBCM meets this year, on September 16-20, 2024.

Judicial Review of Dr. Bonnie Henry’s Orders begins in BC Supreme Court on Monday, November 20, 2023.
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Update: The Judgment was released on May 10, 2024 and is available on the BCSC website: Hoogerbrug v. British Columbia, 2024 BCSC 794 – 2024/05/10

Dr. Z. Essak, MD - Vancouver, BC - November 19, 2023.

Vancouver Law CourtsFinally, an opportunity for everyone to hear a BC Judicial Review of the ongoing orders of Dr. Bonnie Henry, Public Health Officer, and the BC Government that, since November 2021, have impacted the livelihood of thousands of health care workers in BC who are unvaccinated, prohibiting them from working in health care. BC and Nova Scotia are the only jurisdictions in the world that have not allowed unvaccinated health care workers to return to work. Orders and actions that have caused severe division even among health professionals and workers; where nurses, doctors, paramedics, porters and others are not sure who is safe to talk to if they disagree or think consent for vaccination is paramount.

Starting Monday, November 20, 2023, the BC Supreme Court will begin the Judicial Review of Dr Henry’s orders and the October 2023 amendment perpetuating them.

Documentary: Waiting To Die - Canada's Health Care Crisis
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 Waiting to Die - Canada's Health Care CrisisA new one hour documentary by Aaron Gunn, "Waiting To Die - Canada's Health Care Crisis" was released yesterday (August 14, 2023) and in less than one day had more than 23,000 views and more than 700 comments from people sharing their own experiences and thoughts.

Times-Colonist OpEd: Dix needs to listen to healthcare providers
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Dix needs to listen to healthcare providers, The Times Colonist.Please read the OpEd by a BC family doctor that while Health Minister Adrian Dix uses findings of the Cayton report to defend the rapid introduction of Bill 36, the HPOA, he refuses to comment on the contradictory content in the report and snubs the issues raised by the Doctors of BC.

More than 400 doctors attend Bill 36 HPOA Webinar by Doctors of BC
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Update (April 16, 2024): Almost a year has passed and the association Doctors Of BC still has not made the recording of the webinar on Bill36/HPOA available for members to view. Why not?

Dr. Zafar Essak, MD - Vancouver, BC - May 3, 2023.

How important is Bill 36, the new Health Professions and Occupations Act, to doctors, nurses, all health care professionals, and patients? Important enough that more than 400 doctors attended the Doctors of BC Townhall Webinar on Tuesday April 25, 2023 at 6:30 pm. This, in the middle of the week, while doctors are trying to finish work or balancing family and meal time. When was the last time you saw 400 doctors attend a meeting? We haven’t seen a number like that at the DOBC AGM for decades.

It was a very informative webinar organized by DOBC with over 100 questions from doctors to a panel of three Ministry of Health staff, as architects of Bill 36, followed by a panel of the DOBC: President, Dr. Josh Greggain; new CEO, Anthony Knight; staff lawyer, Deborah Viccars; and moderated by Marisa Adair, Director of Communications.

Three Reasons for a Chat with Dr. Bonnie Henry, BC Health Minister Adrian Dix and BC Premier David Eby
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Dr. Zafar Essak, MD - Vancouver, BC - April 5, 2023

Trojan horse imageHaving worked for 40 years as a family physician in BC, when I heard the media announcements recently: that on April 3 vaccine mandates will be lifted on BC public service government workers but not on health care workers until it can become a permanent condition of work in health care, and that we may see only combined vaccines in the fall; it struck me that it’s time we had a real chat. This can’t wait.

Politics is often seen as a glamorous, shiny and sometimes slimy affair. But, seriously, politics is about how we make collective decisions and manage the affairs of our society in our democracy.

There are three things I believe we need to talk about now:

Provincial Health Ministries disregard for the five principles of the Canada Health Act
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In a farewell editorial published in the March 2023 issue of the BC Medical Journal, Dr Brian Day chronicles how the five principles of the Canada Health Act have been disregarded by provincial governments and health ministries across the country. Does this help us understand the sorry state of our medicare system as we see all the media attention related to the nationwide suffering of patients?

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