Medical politics wasn’t a career path I thought I would follow all those years ago. In medical school I focused on my studies and on becoming the best doctor I could. I never gave much thought to the role physicians could play in the broader community until later in my career. But after years of working to help patients and families, I wanted to do something to help improve the system as a whole.
Over the coming year, three key priorities will define my term as President: improve access for our most vulnerable patients and provide greater supports for doctors; ensure our new governance system is a success; and reclaim our professional reputation and position of trust.
There are barriers to access – roadblocks that patients experience – that have created an ineffective system, one that is acute for our most vulnerable and hard to treat populations. We all have them: patients who need additional mental health or drug addiction resources, Aboriginal patients with needs unmet by the current system, patients with physical disabilities who literally cannot get into some of our offices, or frail elderly with mobility issues. The lack of capacity in our system is due in part to a lack of resources, but also to a suboptimal organization of the resources we do have. To address these barriers a collaborative effort by all health care partners is something we all need to work towards.
Doctors of BC is more attuned to members’ needs than it was even five years ago, but so many still remain unaware of the services offered. My intent this year is to make your Association more accessible to you – to highlight the supports available and to use my role as an access point for all members. To do so, I plan on visiting you in venues Doctors of BC doesn’t typically go – to connect with you by getting out into your communities and letting you know we’re here to help. If you have an issue, we can help find a solution.
It’s an exciting time to be president as Doctors of BC embraces and implements its new governance structure. This is a time to create a structure that better represents your views – that breaks down the silos and capitalizes on our differences. But this can’t be done without your help. I encourage you to be a part of this change either by putting your name forward for one of the positions on the Representative Assembly, or by ensuring you cast your vote come election time.
Now we all know that bad news sells, and medicine is not exempt from the bad stories. As physicians, our professional reputation is based on developing trusting relationships. A good reputation means we have the trust of our patients, as well as the public, government, health authorities and other health care providers. And when we have trust, we have the ability to collaborate in pursuit of common goals. A recent IPSOS poll on the most trusted professions had doctors at number six – behind nurses and pharmacists. We have lost much credibility as one of the most trusted professions, the doctor who goes to bat for the patient, and it’s time to start rebuilding respect for our profession and demonstrating that we deserve to be in a position of trust. To accomplish this, I want to profile and showcase the amazing work being done by you – our members – on behalf of your patients. But I first need to know about it. I want to reach beyond the projects supported by Doctors of BC and out into the wider profession. So please tell me your stories. Let’s begin the journey to improve our level of trust and have a greater influence in the health system.
As your President I want to hear what’s on your mind, so I encourage you to contact me – tell me what you’re thinking and share with me stories of incredible work being done by you and your colleagues. Please leave a comment below, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for this opportunity to represent you. I’m excited for what the year ahead has in store for us all.
Learn more about 2017 - 2018 President Dr Trina Larsen Soles and read her inauguration speech from the AGM, here.