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Family Doctors are the Heart of Primary Care


To elevate primary care, governments must resource and support family doctors.

The College of Family Physicians of Canada™ (CFPC) looks forward to a productive discussion between the Prime Minister and premiers at the upcoming first ministers meeting.

Family physicians are at the forefront of providing care to families and their contributions to the health care system are unique and invaluable. Attachment to a regular family physician is linked to improved health outcomes and reduced reliance on more urgent levels of care. However, administrative burden and lack of interprofessional support are quoted as significant obstacles to family practice, resulting in burnout and departures increasing strains on remaining providers.

Family physicians play a unique role—their clinical expertise and training allow them to take into account multiple factors in treating the whole patient regardless of complexity of their conditions. Thanks to their in-depth knowledge of the different parts of the health care system, family physicians can effectively navigate different services and guide the patient to the most relevant care provider and setting throughout their journey. Working in collaborative teams, family physicians can elevate the care provided by their colleagues, allowing them effective access to physician expertise.

The CFPC calls on the federal government to provided dedicated funding to:
  • Pursue initiatives that reduce administrative burden on family physicians
  • Increase investment in interprofessional collaborative teams featuring family physicians
  • Raise the appeal of community-based family practice through investment into improved working conditions—enhanced work-life balance, mental health supports, and shift away from fee-for-service remuneration
As discussions of improving access continue, it is critical to bear in mind the depth and breadth of family physicians’ medical education and training. We must not suggest that complex care can be easily substituted by other health professionals. As Canada’s population grows older and requires care for increasingly complex conditions, it is imperative that Canada has enough well-supported family physicians.

As we strive to work together with many colleagues across the health care system—social workers, nurse practitioners, physicians in other specialties, pharmacists, and many more—all of us must build a system that leverages the expertise of all health care providers with the ultimate goal of improving accessibility and quality of care for our patients.

We look forward to continuing our collaboration with the federal government to ensure the planned investments that will be discussed between the Prime Minister and premiers are geared toward achieving this goal.

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