The past year has also seen the CFPC create the position of Health Policy Analyst, hiring Heather Mullen. This has been a boon to our chapter, facilitating improved communication with the other Atlantic provinces, with the national office, and has provided significant support for government relations here on the Island.
Yet there is so much left to do. We must continue to support physicians in developing Patient Medical Homes and Neighbourhoods across the Island, working closely with the government and other care providers to meet the needs of our communities. The COVID-19 pandemic necessitated a shift to providing some, if not all, of the care for patients remotely, even if only for a short time. We have seen third-party companies such as Maple step in to fill a perceived void. Pharmacies are becoming the first stop for patients to receive advice and treatment for minor ailments. Patients are choosing easy access to episodic care over waiting to see their family physician. It seems traditional family medicine is being eroded from every angle.
So what do we do? We need to leverage technology, with the well-being of the patient at the centre of our efforts. We must advocate for comprehensive, longitudinal care. We need to figure out how to meet the needs of our patients in a rapidly changing environment. Family physicians are highly skilled, trained to understand and manage complex health needs within a complex health system. I look forward to supporting all of you as we work together to meet these challenges.