The article by Dr Prince in the November issue of Canadian Family Physician, “Legislating away the future of family practice. Dangerous transition from continuity of care to continuous access,”1 clearly promotes the perspective of a single physician without verifying its accuracy with medical regulators across the country, or providing medical regulators with an opportunity to respond.
The Federation of Medical Regulatory Authorities of Canada and its member colleges do not support many of the views articulated in Dr Prince’s article, particularly those related to the standards and policies we develop and how they are applied in different practice settings.
Medical regulatory authorities have a job to do, and that is to set high standards for professional practice in the best interest of patients. It is the position of the regulatory authorities that physicians have a collective rather than an individual obligation to their patients who must not be “abandoned” after office hours. Physicians and other health care providers must be able to communicate with each other (for example, a pathologist trying to contact a family physician about urgent or critical laboratory results) in a timely and effective manner about the health care needs of a particular patient, especially in urgent situations.
Further, the Federation of Medical Regulatory Authorities of Canada and its members wonder what “peer reviewed” means when linked with this kind of commentary. What is Canadian Family Physician’s definition and application of the term peer review? Should it not include “source verification” of all the information, for example by contacting the medical regulatory authorities? This likely would have resulted in a more balanced perspective. For example, we noticed that the focus was on Manitoba’s Statement 190 that was officially rescinded in December 2015. A call to the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Manitoba would quickly have resulted in up-to-date information about the new direction and the upcoming demonstration project in that jurisdiction.
Dr Ziomek is President of the Federation of Medical Regulatory Authorities of Canada and the Registrar of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Manitoba.
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