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Primary care

Last chance to save BC's crumbling health care system may rest with the silent majority of physicians defeating the PMA
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Opinion

Dr Z. Essak, MD - Vancouver, BC - November 27, 2022.

The BC health care system continues to show larger cracks as it crumbles. Are patients and doctors to believe that the BC NDP Government and the Association of the Doctors of BC have a plan to fix it? You better think again. There is nothing in the Physician Master Agreement (PMA) that is going to fix our health care system. It is not going to restore longitudinal care. It doesn't even pretend to offer a GP for everyone, or even access to timely specialist care or surgery.

While patients are confused as to what will save health care, are doctors blinded by the glitter thrown in their faces? The only hope in sight is if the silent majority of physicians, the seventy percent who don't usually vote, decide this week to cast their vote against the PMA, to Vote "NO" to the PMA, and send a strong message to Government and their own leaders this is not a good fix.

What do Family Doctors do?
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Family doctor with patient combo, Norman Rockwell painting and photoDr Carmen Eadie, Vancouver BC, Sep 4, 2022.

The biggest problem with being a Family Doctor is that no one knows exactly what we do. We are involved in so many aspects of a person’s life that the lens is not clear to other people.

Dr Ian McWhinney, Canada's "Founding Father of Family Medicine"
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Photo of Dr Ian R. McWhinneyDr Ian R. McWhinney was an English physician and academic who moved to the University of Western Ontario as the first chair of family medicine in Canada where he started the country's first Department of Family Medicine in 1968. He became known in Canada and around the world as the "Father of Family Medicine".

He published over 100 articles during his lifetime and is well known for his influential book, Textbook of Family Medicine. The opening chapter, The Origins of Family Medicine, provides a brief history of medicine including the emergence and need for Family Medicine.

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.

Larry saves the Canadian healthcare system - a musical satire
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Dr D. Naismith, Vernon BC, Jun 22, 2022

Larry saves the Canadian Healthcare System imageThis is an enjoyable musical satire. Each episode is five minutes or so and covers different aspects of the healthcare system from the crisis in lack of family doctors to overcrowded emergency departments, patients in hallways and more. An interesting take on the Canadian healthcare system problems and the production is well done judging from the first four episodes released.

2018 Doctors of BC President-Elect election debate
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2018-05-14 Vancouver, BC Dr Z. Essak, MD2018 DoBC President Elect Debate

A must see. The 2018 Annual Dr Jim Busser Memorial election debate was live video streamed on May 9 and can be viewed anytime through the Vancouver Medical Association website (link below).

Kudos to Dr Charles Webb for keeping alive the memory and spirit of Dr Jim Busser. Kudos also to the moderator Dr Arun Garg encouraging questions and kudos to the participants present and remote for asking questions.

Beyond the opening formalities it gets interesting as questions are asked on what more should we be doing for future physicians, the lack of access, what are the main problems, use of allied professionals and physician extenders.

Are medical errors the third leading cause of death or disability and what can we do to protect ourselves?
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TEDx Stanley ParkDr Z. Essak, MD - Vancouver BC - March 4, 2018

The TEDx Stanley Park event at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre in Vancouver on Saturday March 3, 2018 was incredible with 13 (a bakers dozen) memorable and inspiring speakers and 4 brief, fun energerizer programs to keep the audience engaged. Two of the presentations addressed medical errors.

With cancer as the leading cause of death and heart disease as the second leading cause, medical errors are referred to by some as the third leading cause of death and disability.

Whether errors are third or not, it makes sense that anything that helps to reduce or prevent medical errors is worth pursuing. Every error that can be prevented has direct benefit to individuals and their families.

Celebrating and helping caregivers
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Patti and SherriDr Z. Essak, MD - Vancouver BC - February 16, 2018

According to Statistics Canada there are eight million caregivers in Canada. Most are unpaid, regular people who are taking care of aging and ailing parents, children with disabilities, and friends who need them. Caregivers get little or no attention, despite their massive numbers.

Some caregivers find inspiration and friendship from those they care for and some find themselves with personal challenges through caring for others. Healthcare providers may experience the same themselves and see this in those they serve.

Sharing caregivers' stories may help others find inspiration or recognize the impact on themselves and what they might be able to do.

Don't get swept away by the spin on health care
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medical spin2016-08-22 Dr Z. Essak, MD - Vancouver, BC

We better be careful not to get swept away by the spin of BC Liberals pre-election buzz.

And when it comes to the spin on health care they're not alone.

The same spin seems to be coming from the leaders of the medical association DoctorsOfBC. Is this the result of being co-managers of BC healthcare for almost a decade through the GPSC and other initiatives?

Is it any surprise they are all so complimenting of each other?

What are we to believe? That they have a plan? That it's going to work, someday, soon?

Yes, the plan to spend tax payer dollars is happening. Billions of dollars and hundreds of millions over budget. So where are the results?

The future of medicine and health care in BC and Canada: Where are we going?
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Norman Rockwell Doctors Office2016-07-21 Dr Z. Essak, MD - Vancouver, BC

What is the future of medicine and health care in BC and Canada? Where are we going?

While everyone is out having fun in the summertime, the Government and other organizations, use the time to put out information they know few people will have time to see or digest. Much like they also use the busy time of Christmas and the winter holiday season to slip through items. Some people may just consider it prudent timing, others may see it as deliberate avoidance of proper public consultation.

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