Health-care advocates urge BC to hire physician assistants to assist doctors

A man originally from BC who is now a health-care worker in Halifax said BC needs to adopt physician assistants to assist doctors.

Gabriel Demone, who is a physician assistant with the Canadian Armed Forces based out of Halifax, said his daily role in assisting doctors is a big help in delivering timely medical services.

“If I were to encounter you as a patient, we would sit down and talk about what you brought into the clinic,” he said.

“We’re a force multiplier for the doctors.”

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His role is to see patients, deal with common maladies and, in turn, free up his doctor to work on more complex cases.

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In BC, physician assistants are not allowed to operate, and the health-care system does not employ any.

“To the best of my knowledge, I don’t know if there is a reason that has been given (as to why they’re not allowed)” Demone said.

While BC doesn’t have them, many other provinces, and the Canadian military, use physician assistants to complement the work of a doctor.

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In a recent controversy over a staffing crisis in Port Hardy, one of the district’s doctors called out the province for not making them available in BC

“If it’s good enough for the Canadian military, then why isn’t it good enough for everyone else?” Dr. Alex Nataros told Global News.

“I am advocating for physician assistants because I only have one set of hands.”

BC opposition leaders, Kevin Falcon and Sonia Furstenau, back Dr. Nataros’ assertions and are demanding that the province implement physician assistants into the provincial health care model.

Back in January, the BC Ministry of Health told Global News that it is in the process of gathering facts from other provinces that already use them.

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