The power to influence big change starts small

Issue: BCMJ, vol. 59, No. 3, April 2017, Page 148 President's Comment

If you look at where Canada ranks on a 2015 report from the Commonwealth Fund, you’ll find us disconcertingly at the bottom when ranked on matters of access to care, quality of care, and patient safety.

If you look at where Canada ranks on a 2015 report from the Commonwealth Fund, you’ll find us disconcertingly at the bottom when ranked on matters of access to care, quality of care, and patient safety. You may find this perplexing considering how hard you work each day and how committed you are to the care of your patients. You’ll also find that over half of Canadians feel our health care system needs fundamental change. I fully agree. Yet effective change can’t start or occur at the national level to be meaningful, to be effective, to have buy-in—change needs to start at a grassroots level in our communities. It needs to include patients and the other necessary health care partners, and it urgently needs to be influenced and championed by physician leaders.

Over the years physician leaders across BC have worked hard to influence and implement positive change, helping BC emerge as a national leader in areas such as EMR adoption and in finding innovative solutions to our health care challenges in such areas as primary care and improving surgical outcomes. Our joint collaborative programs have demonstrated that meaningful collaboration and partnership can produce positive results.

The transformative health care changes that will be necessary in the coming decade to address our lagging scorecard and improve patient and community access to necessary services require renewed energy and broader partnerships. With whom, you may ask? The priority partnerships must include full participation of government/policymakers, the health care professions, the universities, our health care managers (namely the health authorities), and most definitely patients and their communities.

The changes taking place within Doctors of BC will provide physicians with opportunities to bring local issues and solutions forward, to make your perspective known in a forum that eagerly wants to hear it, and to step up as leaders in the profession.

Doctors of BC is undergoing one of the biggest and most meaningful changes in recent history as it transitions to its new governance model—a dual structure with a smaller Board that will be more responsive and proactive on your behalf and, what’s extremely exciting, a new Representative Assembly (RA). The RA is an influential body comprising physicians from across the province—from urban and rural areas, from every specialty, and in different stages of their careers—all of whom have a common goal: to influence the direction of our health care system from the ground up. By providing broader member representation to better understand and represent members’ interests and needs and to help guide the new Board, this dual structure will bring positive change to our health care system for patients and for physicians.

Preliminary work has begun, and in the coming months you will have an active role to play in helping form the new Board and the Representative Assembly, and helping shape our association. In May, members will receive a call for nominations for the following positions:
•    President-elect
•    Board directors at large
•    Elected delegates to the Representative Assembly
•    Speaker and deputy speaker of the Representative Assembly
•    Members-at-large to the Governance and Nominating Committees

And with close to 30 elected delegate seats available—district, rural, and First Nations—now is the time to get involved. If you want your ideas to move forward, if you want to see great changes to the health care system, then please work with us to effect that change by volunteering to be a physician leader in your association, and beyond.

I understand that some physicians may feel they don’t have the experience or expertise to meaningfully contribute in a larger forum. To that I say, you are not alone and you will likely be surprised at what you do actually know. I understand that not everyone feels they have the time or interest to play an active role in the association, but your vote for someone who does (having your say for who will represent you on the Representative Assembly) means valuable work will get done.

Earlier this year, you voted for meaningful change in your association, and I now encourage you to be part of that change. This is an exciting time and I look forward to playing my part and working with my colleagues, peers, and those venturing for the first time to help guide and influence these changes.

Yes, getting ourselves organized to tackle the pressing issues that the Commonwealth Fund has highlighted must be given priority in our province. We will be looking to you to do your part. The health care our patients and communities deserve hinges on our profession strengthening our collective voice.
—Alan Ruddiman, MBBCh, Dip PEMP, FRRMS
Doctors of BC President

Alan Ruddiman, MBBCh, Dip PEMP, FRRMS. The power to influence big change starts small. BCMJ, Vol. 59, No. 3, April, 2017, Page(s) 148 - President's Comment.

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