ER training protects patients

Published June 5 2018

To the Editor

Your recent article about staffing issues in the emergency department at Haliburton Highlands Health Services (May 29 2018) described new requirements established by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario as a barrier to recruitment.

As the regulator of physicians in Ontario it is our duty to ensure that physicians are practicing only in areas where they are educated and experienced. The College has a policy for those who wish to change their scope of practice and a well-established process including expectations documents although one had not been developed specifically for emergency medicine. As a result of requests from many physicians with little or no prior experience who wanted to change their scope of practice to include emergency medicine an expectations document was developed to ensure consistency and transparency in how physicians would be approved to do this work. We received feedback during our consultation that rural hospitals generally have a system in place to transition new physicians into emergency work and our process formalizes much of what was already in place.

This new process does not apply to graduates of rural programs. The process allows physicians to start working independently in the emergency room under a low level of supervision. It does not generally take a year and it is consistent with practices that are already in place to supervise new physicians in an emergency setting.

We believe that in an emergency department where patients may have the most complex and critical needs of their lives they should be confident in the skill and ability of those providing care in this unpredictable environment.

Dan Faulkner

Deputy Registrar

College of Physicians and

Surgeons of Ontario