The B.C. government has launched a broad reorganization of its array of self-regulating medical professions, aimed at simplifying them and making them more independent.
In B.C. there are currently 20 health professional colleges, which the province is proposing to reduce to five, directed by B.C. government appointees rather than member elections. A public consultation period was launched Wednesday, to be completed in January.
The College of Physicians and Surgeons, College of Nursing Professionals and College of Pharmacists would be retained, with a separate boards for dental surgeons, dental hygienists, dental technicians and denturists combined into a single college of oral health. A fifth college of health and care professions is proposed to represent the rest of the professions now governed separately.
Current B.C. colleges regulate chiropractors, dietitians, massage therapists, physicians and surgeons, midwives, naturopaths, nurses, occupational therapists, opticians, optometrists, pharmacists, physical therapists, podiatric surgeons, psychologists, speech and hearing therapists and practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine.
Dix said professional associations such as the Doctors of B.C. are not affected by the reorganization of regulatory colleges.
“These changes will help ensure health professions are regulated more thoroughly and transparently, so that they are providing British Columbians with the best care when they need it most,” Dix said.
Based on the issues raised in the B.C. College of Dental Surgeons review released in April, which found that its board had become focused on protecting dentists from complaints rather than protecting the public, the reforms would eliminate elections, with half the appointees from the profession and the other half representing the public.
Dix said B.C. midwives have already indicated a willingness to join the nurses’ college, and other small groups recognize that they don’t have enough members to afford a registrar, office and ability to handle complaints.
The health ministry is conducting a consultation until Jan. 10, 2020, with an online survey. Submissions can also be made by email to PROREGADMIN@gov.bc.ca, using the subject line: “Feedback - Regulating Health Professionals”.