Most assume that the Canadian task force guidelines are led by content expert specialist clinicians. But this is not the case. The task force says it excludes content experts from genuine involvement in guideline development to avoid conflicts of interest. However, in the Canadian health-care context, this is not a valid argument.
In 2022, the Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care released recommendations against using a tool (the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale – EPDS) to screen for depression during pregnancy and the postpartum. These recommendations do not agree with those made by experts in B.C. and Ontario; and around the world in Australia, the United States, England and Scotland. It is important that we look closely at these recommendations and try to understand why they differ.
A three-year family practice program will almost certainly exacerbate the current primary care crisis. For Canadians, this will result in fewer family doctors practicing community care and less access to preventative care, cancer screenings and treatment of chronic diseases.
Private sector activities have a real impact on people's health. We need to promote healthy cross-industry regulation and scrutinize the role that private interests play in the health-policy arena to help safeguard the health of patients.
Does being a patient make you an expert on your condition? Does formal education and credentials to comprehend a disease outweigh the rigor of experiencing life with the disease? There may be more room for patient-expert buy-in in health care decisions.
No public-health measure has resulted in as much controversy as face coverings. For a universal masking requirement in health-care settings to be acceptable, decision-makers must situate it within the context of public-health ethics to determine whether these mandates are justified.
Adding another year to the family practice residency may be controversial, but it is a good idea. All students, residents, clinicians, the system and, most importantly, patients would benefit from a more complete education of all doctors.
The College of Family Physicians of Canada's expansion of training will demoralize and financially penalize early career physicians. Education will not address systemic and structural barriers to comprehensive practice.