Stolo Nation’s Grand Chief Doug Kelly says the first job of a leader is to create hope. Amid not simply a primary care crisis, but a complete health care crisis, hope can be hard to hold. Yet I find myself hoping.
For the first time in my career, I see the hard work, expertise, experience, and leadership of family doctors re-evaluated and re-valued by the public and by government. Family doctors (and BC Family Doctors) are now true partners at decision-making tables and amongst our valued colleagues, no longer token afterthoughts.
Family doctors continue to lead by example and walk the talk surrounding diversity, advocacy, innovation, service, equity, and quality improvement. I am humbled and inspired by the passion, professionalism, and politic you exemplify, even in these most trying times.
I concede I can be naïve but I am also a skeptic. I know this isn’t all rainbows and unicorns and happily ever afters. The fatigue, the pain, the anger, the hurt, the distrust, and the burnout are real – and not just for family doctors but for our patients, communities, and colleagues. Family doctors are currently (and rightly!) in the spotlight; however, this health care crisis is not solely about primary care and family doctors. Health care reform cannot stem from “us” versus “them”; our approach must be a collaborative and cohesive “us” and “them”.
Family doctors are experts in primary care. We can inform change on behalf of ourselves and our patients. This does not detract from the support our specialist colleagues and allied health care providers need and deserve. We each come to work every single day with an intention to serve well and make a difference, and health care requires all of us.
Arthur Ashe says “Start where you are, use what you have, do what you can.” We have been doing this. You are doing this. You are seen, you are appreciated, and you are more than deserving. I ask you to please hold on, to hold us to account, but most of all, to hold out hope. It is hope that will bind and buoy us. It is hope that will carry us through hard work and turbulent times to create meaningful change. It is hope. It is hope. It is hope.