What is the value of a family doctor? Allow me to share a bit of my own perspective. My family doctor is someone who took care of me from birth and helped bring my own children into the world. The one who knows me through and through, advocates fearlessly for my healthcare needs. The one who holds my entire patient journey in his memory and has looked me in the eye in times of life-threatening moments, to tell me “I got you.” These three words offer security, assurance, hope and protection. These are the same three words, I offer to all of you, in a time of uncertainty, dire circumstances and crisis.
As I have the honour to lead you and amplify your voice during this precarious time, I want you to know, I am with you. The board and association see you and support you in all that you do and all that you are. We are committed to each one of you in this challenging time.
We know that family doctors are the backbone of the primary care system. You are the reason for better patient outcomes because we know that family doctors holistically know their patients best, and from there the care they truly need follows. As experts in primary care delivery and masters of uncertainty, you all fearlessly dedicate yourselves to patients and their healthcare journeys. You manage a variety of biological, psychological, and social complexities, and bring a vast breadth of knowledge that expands the entire lifespan. Family doctors can manage pediatrics to geriatrics, from the emergency room to home visits, community care to long-term care, from advocacy to innovation, to creating lifelong relationships and connection. We know that family doctors reduce the need for acute care visits, cost the system less, and contribute to reduced mortality, keeping our patients living healthier and longer lives. You have been navigating within the context of a pandemic, an opioid crisis, and gross inequities, including those of our marginalized patients especially in areas of access, housing security and all social determinants of health. The inherent value of what you do as you lead our primary care system is irreplaceable. You are the reason we are still standing. We know who we are and what our value is, and it is time the province understands that.
On this BC Family Doctor’s Day I will be proudly joining thousands of BC doctors and BC citizens on the steps of the legislature to show my support. British Columbians know the value of family medicine, and are speaking out and showing up to make government aware. But we also need government to acknowledge our value. It will take all of us standing together and working together to achieve what we all want – doctors who are supported and patients who can access the care they deserve.