An advocate for physicians, our patients, and the system.
The CMA must advocate for doctors. We cannot take care of patients if we do not take care of the people responsible for the patients. As president of the CMA, I will consistently and unapologetically defend our best interests. For me this means, providing the tools needed to make it easier for physicians to do their jobs at a tactical level, while ensuring there are fewer hurdles and barriers on a system level. I will also support the CMA’s work in opposing the federal government’s taxation changes. With my leadership, the CMA will clearly be the representative of the CMA members. As such, we will respond to the increased levels of stress and burnout across the profession and, while we help members be resilient, also work towards reducing the causes of stress.
This advocacy and work on well-being for our members starts at medical school for our students and residents. I have, and will continue to defend the ability of learners to actively participate in debates and policy decisions, without fear of intimidation. As well, the CMA should work, for example, to reduce the costs of medical education and to ensure that there are adequate residency positions for our Canadian graduates.
We share many of the same frustrations as our patients while we try to help them navigate the system. Too often, we have responsibilities without authority. Making institutions more patient-centric would make it easier for us to get access to the resources our patients need. As president of the CMA, the seniors care strategy would continue to be a priority for the CMA. This strategy will affect the lives of thousands of Canadians every year. I will be an advocate for this and push for improvements in the transition from community and primary care to acute care institutions and back. In addition to a robust seniors’ strategy, I will also advocate for better policies to deal with chronic diseases including chronic pain.
The CMA needs to advocate for, and contribute to a system that works, is sustainable, and provides care to the entire population. While this might seem utopian, the Choosing Wisely initiative is a good start in encouraging physicians and patients to have conversations leading to more accountable use of the system. As president of the CMA, I will support and encourage better use of this type of initiative. The system also needs to do better and respond to the barriers patients have accessing medications, which often lead to the need for more expensive interventions. Under my leadership, the CMA will lead by having a realistic examination of how Pharmacare could be financed. The reality today means that we need to look at the broader influences on demand, including the social determinants of health, and consider how we can best help those with more challenges and higher needs, such as mental illness.
The CMA must be unyielding in asserting that improvements to the system can only be successful when physicians are full participants in the design and implementation of changes.