Evidence points overwhelmingly to the value of preventive services. Years of research have demonstrated that clinical prevention services such as childhood immunizations and smoking cessation advice deliver economic, social, and health benefits far beyond their initial costs. Most recently, researchers have found that those who adhere to a healthy lifestyle, for example by eating well and never smoking, can reduce their chances of developing common chronic diseases by nearly 80% (Ford et al., 2009).
It is not surprising, therefore, that the provincial government has placed a renewed emphasis on clinical prevention and created a Clinical Prevention Policy Review Committee (CPPRC). The Committee is tasked with devising a lifetime prevention plan – a series of services paid for by the public health care system and provided to British Columbians over their lifetime to promote their health, detect disease early, and minimize disability. Indeed, much of the cited research and recommendations in this report draw upon the work of the CPPRC.
The key to the success of the lifetime prevention plan is partnership. Only through close collaboration can patients, policymakers, physicians, and other providers implement it effectively. In this paper, the Doctors of BC calls on the provincial government to create a lifetime prevention plan, recognize the General Practitioner as the primary clinician responsible for delivering and/or coordinating the plan, and adopt the principle of “patients as partners” in the plan’s development and implementation.
In addition to providing policy recommendations, this paper also announces a series of commitments from the Doctors of BC with respect to clinical prevention. These commitments identify areas where the Doctors of BC will act to further the development, implementation, and ongoing management of a provincial lifetime prevention plan. When acted on together, these recommendations and commitments will allow all of us to partner successfully for prevention.
For the full policy paper, please see “Partners in Prevention: Implementing a Lifetime Prevention Plan”.