A new profession is helping to fill Quebec’s shortage of medical professionals: the physician’s assistant.
This profession, which already exists in the United States, requires less training and supervision by a medical professional, but allows him to devote 30% of his time to other tasks in order to treat patients more quickly. example
“We’ve seen a decline in waiting lists and a decline in emergency room wait times in provinces where physician assistants are regulated,” said Jean-Nicolas Chagnon, Quebec regional director of the Canadian Association of Physician Assistants.
A physician’s assistant usually does all the work of a doctor, such as meeting patients, prescribing certain medications, and paperwork for various tests.
In some critical cases, the assistant may call the doctor for help, including when prescribing certain medications.
“From the patient’s perspective, it’s exactly the same role as the doctor,” explains neurosurgeon Dr. Chowky K. Khoury. The difference is that physician assistants don’t go to medical school. They are appointed by a doctor who trains them on the job.
“Physician assistant salaries are much lower than physician salaries,” he says. So if the government starts hiring physician assistants to expand clinics and accommodate more patients, it will cost them much less than hiring more doctors.
Minister of Health and Social Services, Christian Dubey, is open to the idea of testing the solution in the territory of Quebec.
“Physician assistant, it’s very convenient to test quickly in projects that we can do in Quebec,” he says.
The Federation of General Practitioners of Quebec also favors additional study of this profession.
Watch the full report in the video above.