Building on the Progress of 2023
As another challenging year in health care winds down, I am pleased to present the final issue of Dialogue for 2023. In this issue, you will find an article that sums up the challenges of working in health care this year and highlights a peer support program at the University of Western Ontario. The program’s success is a concerning indication of how many physicians are experiencing distress and in need of an empathetic connection.
I will remember 2023 for the deep sense of urgency in our health care system caused by longstanding issues affecting so many people across the province. The headlines we saw throughout the year reflected a system in crisis: hospitals struggled to keep emergency departments open; patients searched in vain for a family doctor; and physicians, frustrated with the constraints of the system, questioned their future in health care.
Despite these challenges, I am optimistic about the year ahead and proud of the work we have accomplished together at the College in 2023.
Over the past year, 5,500 physicians completed the Quality Improvement (QI) program and to date, 78 hospitals have joined the QI Partnership program. In total, more than 80 percent of Ontario physicians have either completed or are currently involved in one of our QI programs. Earlier this fall, we successfully launched our 2024 QI strategy, including our new Enhanced QI program option for physicians aged 70-74 years.
Important progress was also made this year to support physicians in providing equitable care to those living with disabilities and address the unique care needs of the unhoused population. We will build on this in 2024 with a focus on trauma-informed care, which is an approach that recognizes the need to understand a patient’s lived experiences and past trauma to provide effective care. We appreciate Myrna McCallum, a former crown prosecutor, who is Métis-Cree, for her outstanding presentation to the Board of Directors at our December meeting regarding her extensive experience in working with trauma survivors. Board Member, Dr. Rupa Patel, discussed her interest in trauma-informed care in Dialogue and how it can help create a safe environment for patients who have faced adverse childhood experiences. This latest issue also features advice to help you navigate challenging patient interactions.
As 2023 ends, I extend my congratulations to Dr. Rob Gratton on completing his term as Board Chair and thank him for his dedication to the role and his many contributions. Rob has been a thoughtful collaborator, particularly throughout our by-law modernization project. I also look forward to building on this year’s success with the 2024 College Board Chair Dr. Ian Preyra.
In closing, I thank you for continuing to find new ways to support your patients and deliver great care during this extremely difficult time. I hope you have a happy holiday season and find time to not only connect with your loved ones, but also enjoy some well-deserved rest.
Wishing you a healthy and happy 2024.
Nancy Whitmore, MD, FRCSC, MBA
CPSO’s Registrar and CEO