How can I capture the current climate and challenges of family medicine in this letter?
What will resonate with a distinctly diverse group of physicians who serve in a wide variety of practices, but also reach across the vast geographic differences in where and how we work? How will we help each other navigate our new normals after a pandemic that has widened the deep cracks in our system, proved that the oft-times glacial shift of bureaucracy is unnecessary, and left a swath of burnout in its wake? How can we build upon the incredible and unprecedented rising up of healthcare providers to meet the needs of our patients and communities?
After many hours of fretting and numerous failed iterations, I humbly realise that all I can do within this letter is speak from the heart and hope it will leave us more connected, less alone, and with more hope.
More and more often as a family doctor in BC, I feel devalued, disheartened, disrespected, and even despondent in my work. The moral injury inherent in not being able to locally and collectively provide the healthcare that patients deserve is heavy, whether that is due to restrictions and resources or politics and policy. Our patients deserve better, and we deserve better.
I have also felt the bone-deep honour and privilege of work well done. Over these past two years, I have witnessed amazing feats of innovation, collaboration, care, and compassion in our colleagues, partnerships, and the communities we serve.
So where do I go from here?
First, I am done apologising and bearing blame for a system I did not break. However, I am not done educating my patients and communities on where and how they can raise their voices and concerns or receive support. I am certainly not done advocating for what patients, communities, and family doctors need.
Second, I do not intend to dull the roar of discontent. However, I do intend to stoke the embers of hope through meaningful partnership, as well as the co-creation of solutions and actions that do not add harm and do not further silo us.
Third, I do not plan to passively await change. Family doctors and patients need not only to be heard by decision makers, but to sit at every table intended to shape sustainable healthcare solutions in keeping with the quintuple aim.
Finally, I am not done providing and expecting transparent communication and the holding to account of our partners. I include myself in this expectation.
I am cognizant of both the privilege and responsibility in the work that both I and BC Family Doctors do. I invite each of you (seriously) to reach out to your district delegate or to me to better inform and direct the work we do. Moreover, I want to credit and recognise the extensive and exceptional work that is already being done by our incredible colleagues, our patients, our partners, and by BC Family Doctors.
I see you. I hear you. I deeply respect and admire you. And I thank you.