The September issue of the Journal, guest edited by Dean Gavin Stuart [BCMJ 2008;50(7):366-395], gives an impressive account of our expanding medical school.
Several contributions are factual and others describe technical advances including selection of students, evaluation of their progress, and descriptions of videoconferencing and the IT available for continuing education. No one would dispute, certainly not the BCMA Section of Clinical Faculty, the value of turning the province into a medical school.
The issue as always is how best to integrate into the enterprise formerly volunteer clinical faculty teachers who are not on the Faculty of Medicine (FOM) payroll but independent contractors caring for patients while mentoring the learners who will be our future practitioners.
Dr Katherine Paton, Special Advisor, Clinical Faculty Affairs, reports on page 392 that there are at least 3000 of these physicians, without whom the medical school can never achieve its potential. Now that the expansion includes much of the province it is seriously affecting the clinical practice of these physicians, the workload of other health care workers, and most importantly, patient care.
It is important for the FOM to work with these clinicians as partners and recognize their experience in delivering clinical care as we strive to obtain the best environment to provide for care of the citizens and education for the future physicians of BC.
Some advances have been made in the relationship between clinical faculty and the FOM, with the assistance of the BCMA, as outlined in the article by Dr Paton. However progress is painfully slow (the last “contract” posted for clinical faculty expired on 30 June 2008), and it is becoming urgent that matters be resolved if the medical school expansion is to continue unabated.
The bulk of these 3000 physicians are members of the BCMA and we are confident that the BCMA, in partnership with the FOM, will ensure their professional working conditions are appropriate.
Having said this we congratulate the FOM on a mighty achievement to date, but suggest that in a true partnership with clinical faculty it could be mightier yet.
—Hector Baillie, MBChB
—Milton Baker, MD
—Dean Burrill, MD
—Jim Hayward, MD
—Angus Rae, MBBS
—Chris Sherlock, MBBS
—Derryck Smith, MD
—Michelle Sutter, MD
—Chris Thompson, MDCM
—David Wensley, MD
BCMA Section of Clinical Faculty
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