Continued Challenges in 2023

Reading time: 3 minutes
Dr. Nancy Whitmore

Another year is ending and 2022 was no less difficult than the two years before. The post-pandemic recovery has brought with it a whole new set of challenges. The health system is struggling due to many factors, including health human resource supply issues, long wait times for care and physician burnout.

CPSO has made several recommendations to government on how we can address physician supply shortages in Ontario. This is a complex issue, but there has been some progress as we continue to work with government and partner organizations. We have introduced a new temporary class of license designed to support mobility within Canada. This new license will increase physician mobility, allowing out-of-province physicians to provide locum coverage more easily throughout Ontario.

Locum support is much needed to strengthen rural care in Ontario. In fact, it was one of the key themes in our latest eDialogue cover story. Small Towns, Big Challenges — And Bigger Rewards addresses the joys and hardships facing small-town and rural physicians. We interviewed three physicians who shared their personal experiences on why working in small or rural towns has made them better clinicians. These physicians strongly encourage the next generation of medical students and residents to see rural medicine not just as a viable career option, but the pathway to a deeply rewarding life.

I am grateful for each expert with lived experience who worked with us this year.

I am also incredibly pleased to share with you our second Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Annual Report. This report summarizes the work CPSO accomplished in the EDI space in 2022. It is extremely encouraging to see the support and progression of EDI across health care. Our focus this year was on 2SLGBTQIA+ and anti-Black racism. I am grateful for each expert with lived experience who worked with us this year.

The issue of health misinformation continues to proliferate across social media. We most recently put out a statement regarding guidance we shared to assist patients who were apprehensive about receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. This guidance was grossly misinterpreted to suggest we were recommending psychiatric treatment for those who remain unvaccinated. Instances such as this are widespread and only serve to erode the physician-patient relationship, worsen our public health outcomes and create dangerously hostile environments. Imran Ahmed, CEO of the Centre for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH), will be speaking at our Council meeting in March. I encourage you to check out the CCDH website. CPSO is committed to countering misinformation and disrupting the online spread of dangerous information.

The latest episode of our podcast, “In Dialogue,” launched just last week. Our Council President, Dr. Janet van Vlymen, spoke with Dr. Jillian Horton, general internist, medical educator and award-winning writer about her personal struggles with burnout and how it manifested in her life. She shares resources and strategies for coping with burnout and treating oneself with compassion.

While this year has been challenging, we have also made considerable progress in many ways, and we have our sights set on building on these accomplishments in 2023. I want to thank Dr. van Vlymen for her leadership as Council president for 2022. Janet’s passion and dedication to addressing physician burnout has kept this issue at the forefront of Council’s work. I also want to welcome Dr. Rob Gratton as the President of Council for 2023. Rob’s thoughtful and reflective leadership approach will be critically important as he steers Council’s ship through the rough waters ahead.

Finally, I want to wish each of you a happy holiday, and hope that you will all get the chance to treat yourselves to time with family and friends and some well-deserved compassion.

Wishing each of you a wonderful 2023.